The first marine spatial plan for New Zealand, which applies to the Hauraki Gulf was launched last night at an event in Auckland. The plan has been developed by a collaborative stakeholder working group, representing key interests, and provides a roadmap for restoring the Gulf to a healthy, abundant and productive marine area.
At the heart of the plan is the need to restore healthy habitats and water quality to support abundant marine life including fisheries as well as taonga, such as seabirds and marine mammals. The plan includes several initiatives to achieve this, including:
- Transitioning trawling, dredging and Danish seining out of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. These fishing methods can cause additional damage to seabed habitats, they remobilise sediment, and they prevent recovery from historic loss.
- Setting catchment-based sediment and nutrient limits and deploying a range of tools to modify land use and re-engineer natural systems so that they can be met.
- Removing harvest pressure from some areas through the establishment of Type 1 MPAs and seabed-damaging activities from additional areas through Type 2 MPAs.
- Scaling up efforts to actively restore marine habitats including through shellfish and seaweed restoration, habitat creation and the like.
The plan also supports increased abundance of marine life through a series of actions such as reviewing harvest levels of priority species, protecting vulnerable species from over-harvesting, decreasing mortality of under-sized fish, reducing pressures on threatened species and addressing marine biosecurity risks.
The plan provides support for marine-related industries including Aquaculture, through the provision of suitable marine space for growth; Commercial Fishing, through support for a high value, low impact industry; and Tourism and Recreation, through improved abundance, access, place-based management and visitor strategies. In particular, the plan supports Recreational Fishing through increasing the abundance and local availability of fish.
In addition, the plan seeks to inspire local communities through engaging hearts and minds, embracing volunteering and expanding marine education.
Underpinning the plan is the need for strengthened management and governance arrangements. These include the establishment of:
- Ahu Moana local management areas, jointly managed by mana whenua and local communities.
- Fisheries Management Area for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and a Multi-stakeholder Fisheries Advisory Group to provide recommendations directly to the Minister.
- A new overarching Governance Entity that embraces co-governance and will champion the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and the implementation of the plan.
Further details on the plan can be found here.