Fishing restrictions and new protection areas for Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana

By RNZ

The Government will largely remove trawl fishing in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, and create 18 new protection areas, in a major new environmental plan.

Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker and the Acting Minister of Conservation Ayesha Verrall have released the Revitalising the Gulf Plan in an effort to restore the gulf to health.

Protection areas will increase almost three-fold to nearly 18 per cent of the total area.

There will also be new catch settings to increase the amount of fish.

The government strategy comes four years after the report on the Gulf it commissioned was delivered.

Parker said the Government was taking immediate action to build on the good work already being done to restore the health of the Gulf.

“We are also taking the long view, recognising that sustained action is necessary to ensure that the Gulf and its economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits can continue to be enjoyed.”

Verrall said some of the world’s most unique species of marine life relied on a healthy Gulf.

The strategy would guide an “ongoing programme of work for the long-term health of the Hauraki Gulf” and responded to the call to action in the 2017 Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan, Verrall said.

The package includes:

• The creation of 18 new marine protection areas and a framework to support the active restoration of some of the most biodiverse regions in the Gulf. The 18 new protected areas will increase marine protection in the Gulf almost threefold.

• A fisheries plan with a range of changes to fishing practices and catch settings, including restricting trawl fishing to within carefully selected “corridors”.

• Better monitoring to improve understanding of the marine environment and track progress over time.

• An expanded programme of protected species management.

• Working together with mana whenua and local communities on local area coastal management.

• Promoting a prosperous, sustainable aquaculture industry.

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