Introduction

Have your say on the proposed protection zones designed to revitalise the Hauraki Gulf and its marine life. Submissions closed 5 pm, 28 October 2022.

We sought feedback on marine protection proposals that aim to revitalise the Hauraki Gulf. The proposals are for 19 new protected zones, created using two new marine protection tools. These tools will be established through new legislation.

The proposals will increase the area under protection in the Gulf from just over 6% to about 18%. This increase will support the recovery of some of its most biodiverse regions.

Read the information document (PDF, 1,286 K)

These were first announced in the strategy ‘Revitalising the Gulf: Government action on the Sea Change Plan’ in 2021. Then they were refined after engagement with mana whenua in the Gulf.

They were proposed by the Minister of Conservation and the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries.

What was in the proposals?

The marine protection proposals included:

12 High Protection Areas (HPAs): These will protect and enhance marine communities, ecosystems, and habitats. HPAs will provide for the expression of customary practices by mana whenua. This means customary practices can continue in HPAs, through existing regulatory arrangements, in a way that is consistent with the area’s biodiversity objectives.

5 Seafloor Protection Areas: These areas will protect sensitive sea floor habitats. They will do this by prohibiting activities that damage or disturb the seafloor, like bottom trawling and mining. But they will still allow for activities that do not conflict with seafloor protection objectives. Such as fishing that does not use bottom-contact methods, snorkelling, and kayaking.

2 protected areas: These will be adjacent to Cathedral Cove | Whanganui-a-Hei and Cape Rodney-Okakari Point marine reserves. These will be established as either two new High Protection Areas, or as extensions to the two existing marine reserves.

More information on the above proposals can be found in our information document and on pages 60 - 61 of Revitalising the Gulf (PDF, 4,798K).

What has changed since 'Revitalising the Gulf' was released?

Since the Government released the Revitalising the Gulf strategy document in 2021 and prior to this consultation, we :

  • engaged with mana whenua in the Gulf to understand how customary practices could be managed within HPAs; and
  • included an additional HPA proposal around Ōtata / the Noises Islands.

Potential impact on commerical fishers

We commissioned an assessment of current commercial fishing activity within the proposed protection areas to determine the potential impact of the proposals.

This assessment was based on various data. It includes port, export and annual catch entitlement (ACE) prices. It also includes total allowable catch, fish stock, species, fishing method and location, total landings/monthly harvest returns, and reported catch effort.

Read the report (PDF 1,246K)

We are seeking feedback from fishers and their industry bodies to explore the potential impacts further. Ministers will consider all feedback when they make their final decisions.

There is also an assessment underway on the potential impact of the Revitalising the Gulf marine protection proposals on recreational fishers.

What the report showed

The assessment shows that a small number of commercial fishers (less than 10) did more than 15% of their fishing within the proposed protection areas in 2019/20 and 2020/21.

A few of those fished within the proposed protection areas in only one of the two years. We know that fishing patterns and effort can be highly variable between years, and this is reflected in the assessment.

Limitations of the report

The above report does not represent a broader assessment of the potential impact of the Revitalising the Gulf marine protection proposals on the wider commercial sector.

Some parts of the report have also been redacted due to the presence of fine scale information that may be commercially sensitive.

More information on the caveats and limitations associated with the assessment are outlined on page 6 of the report.

Feedback

We sought feedback on the proposals outlined in the information document. Submission closed 5 pm, 28 October 2022.

We were particularly interested to hear from mana whenua, Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act applicants, and key stakeholders.

Stakeholders included recreational and commercial fishers, divers, researchers, and community groups.

Official Information Act

All submissions are subject to the Official Information Act and can be released under this Act.

What happens next?

Feedback from this consultation will help to inform the way we progress the marine protection proposals for the Gulf.

The Minister for Oceans and Fisheries and Minister of Conservation will consider all feedback. They will do this before making final decisions on the proposals.

Feedback will inform a Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Bill, which will create the tools needed to progress these protections.

There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on the Bill during the Select Committee process.

Contact

If you have any questions, email us at seachange@doc.govt.nz

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