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.
The Seachange Tai Timu Tai Pari initiative is in the process of preparing a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf. The plan is being developed by a Stakeholder Working Group which has been tasked with developing ‘a spatial plan that will achieve a Hauraki Gulf that is vibrant with life and healthy mauri, is increasingly productive and supports healthy and prosperous communities.’
‘Nature’ article identifies marine spatial planning as a way of bringing fishers and conservationists together to address ecosystem issues.
The Group is focused on identifying ways, to turn around the degradation that has happened over the last century or so, within the next generation. It is committed to achieving this through adopting a holistic approach to solutions based on mātauranga Māori as well as western science.
The Seachange process is being sponsored by the Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries. It is expected that these organisations will implement the marine spatial plan.
The plan is scheduled to be completed later in 2016. The Story of the Hauraki Gulf has been written to help support the implementation of the spatial plan through communicating the issues to a broader audience.
The restoration of Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wonderful success. The restoration project was initiated by the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park Board. It was the first time that public volunteers were used for island conservation in New Zealand and many thought that the approach would not work, that you could only have a successful nature reserve if the public was not allowed to go there.
The planting programme started in 1984. Members of the public were invited to come and help. Over a decade later over 250,000 native trees had been planted. Eleven bird species how now been translocated back to the island.
Tiritiri Matangi is ecologically important, not only as a site where wildlife can thrive, but as a breeding ground for rare species that can be transferred to other islands. It has also become a very popular place for visitors. But perhaps even more importantly, the project provided inspiration for other island restoration projects, in the Hauraki Gulf and elsewhere.
A Celebration of Our Association with this Remarkable Place