The new strategy, Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan, released today, draws on input from mana whenua, local communities, and industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said.
“We are delivering on our election promise, taking immediate action to build on the good work already being done to restore the health of the Gulf,” David Parker said.
“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.”
Acting Conservation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said some of the world’s most unique species of marine life relied on a healthy Gulf.
“Our Revitalising the Gulf strategy will guide an ongoing programme of work for the long-term health of the Hauraki Gulf. It responds to the call to action in the 2017 Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan, developed by a stakeholder working group, and contains Government actions across the many marine challenges facing the Gulf in a holistic package,” Ayesha 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 our 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.
“It’s crucial that this package of actions works for all. We’ll be seeking further input from mana whenua and engaging with key stakeholders to make sure it’s done right,” Ayesha Verrall said.
David Parker said the Gulf was important to all New Zealanders and is also one of our busiest recreational marine environments, popular for boating and fishing and home to an important inshore fishery.
“All of this activity, both on land and sea, has placed pressure on the Gulf and we need to take action to ensure it can be enjoyed by current and future generations. The Strategy’s actions will work alongside other actions and initiatives that tackle the land and freshwater pressures affecting the health of the Gulf.”
“We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to ensure the vision of a revitalised Gulf comes to fruition, but by working together we can achieve it,” Ayesha Verrall said.