Date: 05 October 2009
Marine life at Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is thriving, but it still needs your help says the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) marine ranger Andy Wills.
‘If you are heading out on the water it is your responsibility to know where the boundaries of the marine reserve are. This information can be found on signage at the boat ramps, charts and on modern GPS plotters. The marine reserve boundaries are clearly marked with large yellow posts with lights on them,’ says Andy. ‘We will be out on the water patrolling the reserve, talking to boaties, especially those who are near the reserve boundaries.’
Fishing or taking any marine life from the reserve is prohibited; even shells on the beach are protected and should not be removed. It is also illegal to feed the fish in the reserve as this changes their behaviour and they can become aggressive. ‘People don’t realise that this also means it’s illegal to crack open kina and let fish feed off this,’ says Andy. People also need to be careful not to set crayfish pots inside the boundaries of the reserve.
Snorkelling, diving and swimming are excellent ways to explore and enjoy the reserve. The Gemstone Bay Snorkel Trail and rocky areas around Stingray Bay and Mahurangi and Motueka Islands, are excellent places to start your exploration. With the high numbers of people out on the water, boaties should make sure they display a dive flag.
Under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, penalties for taking marine life include up to 3 months in prison or fines up to $10,000 and possible forfeiture of boats and fishing equipment.
To report fishing or any suspicious activities in the reserve, phone 0800-362468 (0800-DOCHOT).