Changes to marine protection good for Hauraki Gulf

The Hauraki Gulf will benefit from the new proposals put forward for protecting marine areas says Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.

The Government has released a consultation document on the new Marine Protected Areas Act.

It puts forward four different options for looking after marine environments, and includes the draft proposal for the Hauraki Gulf Recreational Fishing Park.

“This is a really positive step for Auckland. The Hauraki Gulf is a fishing hotspot, and the initial announcement of a fishing park was widely welcomed by many recreational fishers.

“It’s proposed most commercial fishing is prohibited (dependant on the outcome of consultation, particularly around species in the draft boundaries of the park), which will enable better management of recreational fishing stocks. 

“I think the proposed Park is aimed to strike the right balance between protecting and managing this valuable area, while ensuring the Hauraki Gulf remains a fisherman’s playground.

The consultation document also gives four options for protecting marine environments, and includes: Marine Reserves, Species-specific sanctuaries, Seabed Reserves and Recreational Fishing Parks says Nikki Kaye.

“Great Barrier Island falls outside of the proposed fishing park. It is important that residents of the Gulf, including Great Barrier Island, have their say on the proposed plan and I encourage submissions from the public. I have been working with groups on Barrier who would like to see greater protection of their marine area, and it is my desire as the local MP, to ensure that this is achieved either through this process or a process in the future. Greater marine protection on the Island will also complement the Aotea Conservation Park.

“These new categories make available more options for preserving this unique part of the Hauraki Gulf.  I have raised this issue with Ministers, particularly the need to begin a collaborative process so we can discuss how this can be best achieved. I have seen first-hand through previous proposals on Waiheke and Great Barrier Island, that more focus and better tools for marine protection are needed.

“Auckland is a growing city, and it is very important that we have tools like the Recreational Fishing Park to ensure that the city has an environment that will be sustainable for Aucklanders in the future.

“I encourage all interested people and groups to give their feedback on the proposed changes, so we all have a hand in preserving and shaping the Hauraki Gulf”.