The Government today announced a new marine reserve, whale and fur seal sanctuary, five customary fishing areas and amateur fishing regulations to improve the management of Kaikoura’s coast and ocean.
“Kaikoura’s extraordinary marine environment needs the protection and recognition of these new sanctuaries and reserves. This is the most biologically rich ocean anywhere in the world over 500 metres depth because of its deep canyon so close to shore,” Dr Smith says.
“These measures will benefit Kaikoura’s whales, dolphins, seals, albatross, rock lobster, shellfish and finfish as well as helping to sustain Kaikoura’s $134 million a year tourism industry.”
“This package of fisheries and conservation tools has been developed by a collaborative group of Kaikoura representatives from iwi, recreational, commercial and charter fishers, boating and conservation groups. It is a tribute to the collective efforts through this Te Korowai process that the Government is implementing their recommendations as well as providing an on-going role for the group in the marine management of the area,” Mr Guy says.
The new marine protection measures are:
The Hikurangi Marine Reserve
This 10,416 hectare Hikurangi Marine Reserve is focused on the very deep waters of the canyon and connects with the land for about two kilometres just north of Goose Bay and extends out to 23.4 kilometres. No mining, fishing or harvesting of any kind would be allowed in the area. This new reserve is larger and deeper than any existing marine reserve on New Zealand’s three main islands.
The Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary
This 4686 square kilometre sanctuary extends 45 kilometres north and south of the Kaikoura peninsula and 56 kilometres out to sea. It protects the sperm, humpback, southern right, blue, killer and other whales that frequent the area and prohibits high-level seismic survey work.
The Ōhau Point New Zealand Fur Seal Sanctuary
This sanctuary extends 700 metres along the coastal side of State Highway 1 out about 50 metres to the low water spring mark, covering an approximate area of four hectares. This area is the most significant breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals on the country’s main islands. Public access will be restricted to the viewing platforms to give the estimated 3000 seals in the area respite from human interference.
The Mangamaunu Mussel Rock and Oaro maitaitai reserves
Three small maitaitai reserves are to be established at Mangamaunu, Mussel Rock and Orou in which commercial fishing is prohibited and which protect customary fishing beds. Two larger taiapure reserves, or locally managed recreational fishing areas, are to be established on the Kaikoura Peninsula and Oaro/Haumuri area.
New recreational fishing regulations
Recreational catch and size limits are to be tightened within the Te Korowai area due to concern about unsustainable pressure on fishing stocks. Tighter catch limits will apply to blue cod, rig, paua, crayfish, cockles, karengo and bladder kelp.
Te Korowai Advisory Committee
The proposals provide for an on-going advisory role for the Te Korowai group in advising the Ministers of Conservation and Primary Industries on Kaikoura marine reserves.
“The Kaikoura fishing community of commercial, recreational, customary and charter fishers have shown real leadership in committing to a package of changes that reduce the areas they can fish and the size of their catch in the interests of long-term sustainability. This model is about local fishers stepping up and taking greater responsibility for the future of their fishery and the Government responding by increasing their role in the on-going management,” Mr Guy says.
“Kaikoura is defined by its wild coastline, whales and crayfish. The debate over marine protection has been going for more than 20 years. It is fantastic that a community-led process has delivered such a comprehensive package and that this has now been endorsed by the Government,” Dr Smith says.
“I will be introducing the Kaikoura Marine Management Bill to Parliament this week to create these new reserves and sanctuaries and to introduce the changes to recreational fishing regulations. There will be an opportunity through the select committee process to allow the public to have further comment on the details. Our ambition is to pass the legislation this year and have these new marine protections and management tools in place by 2015.”