Community remains vigilant as Taputeranga Marine Reserve approaches second birthday
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionTwo years after its establishment Wellington’s Taputeranga Marine Reserve is still under the watchful gaze of vigilant south coast communities.
Date: 26 August 2010
Two years after its establishment Wellington’s Taputeranga Marine Reserve is still under the watchful gaze of vigilant south coast communities.
The Department of Conservation has now responded to more than 200 calls to the DOC hotline for suspected illegal activity in the reserve. The Department’s duty officers or marine ranger are on 24/7 standby to respond and have been kept particularly busy over periods of good weather.
“The high number of calls we receive is testament to the support and watchfulness of the communities near the reserve”, says DOC’s Kapiti Wellington Area manager Rob Stone.
“We are happy to say that in the majority of cases we encounter no evidence of illegal activity.”
With Taputeranga in its early stages, the Department’s focus has been on increasing awareness of the reserve, the rules and the rationale behind them. Amongst other prohibitions, nothing is to be removed from below the mean high water spring mark and no marine life or natural feature is to be wilfully disturbed or interfered with. The mean high water spring mark is basically the average spring high tide mark and to avoid confusion is best considered as the highest visible tide mark. The reserve stretches from Te Raekaihau Point in the east to Owhiro Bay in the west and is a popular and busy location for diving, swimming, and walking. DOC rangers routinely patrol the area talking to visitors and handing out information. The newly-formed Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve, local dive operators and residents have helped with the awareness campaign.
Those found fishing (including any attempt to take) or removing marine life from the reserve could be liable for a prison term up to 3 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Marine reserve sign
“Even though the reserve is still young, we’re getting anecdotal reports of small increases in fish numbers and we want to send a clear message that Taputeranga Marine Reserve is a valuable asset and we won’t tolerate offences. Currently we have one matter about to go before the court and two other matters pending,” said Mr Stone.
Taputeranga was established on 28th August 2008 after a long process of application and community consultation. Two years later a number of species and habitats are regularly monitored by Victoria University with support from DOC. It is hoped that a continued campaign of education and alertness will help to return this 854 hectare area to close to its natural state.
The Department advises that any suspicious activity within the reserve should be reported to the DOC Hotline on 0800 362 468.