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84% of Hauraki Gulf users do not want continuation of sea bottom trawling

84% of Hauraki Gulf users do not want continuation of sea bottom trawling

The Endangered Species Foundation (ESF) recentlly voiced strong concerns around the proposed plans to continue bottom trawling the Hauraki Gulf in the new plan “Revitalising the Gulf’ by the Department of Conservation (DoC).

“We were shocked to learn of these proposals to continue mining and bottom trawling the Hauraki Gulf,” said Endangered Species Foundation General Manager, Natalie Jessup. “It’s like we’re stuck in the 1980’s.

“The Hauraki Gulf is home to the endangered Bryde’s Whale, the endangered tara iti, NZ fairy tern, and countless other species which all depend on healthy ecosystems for their survival. We need to change our ways to ensure all biodiversity and future generations have a chance of survival.”

The Endangered Species Foundation is calling for an end to seabed mining and bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf, and are calling for the Pakiri / Mangawhai area to be designated as a Seafloor Protection Area.

ESF compares the impact of sandmining, seabed bottom trawling and Danish Seining to the destruction of 190 million years of kauri forests over a period of a few decades to the benefit of very few and the long-term damage to the environment and the people of New Zealand.

“Not only is New Zealand the last country continuing to bottom trawl the high seas of our Pacific Ocean, we are also recklessly doing this in our own back yard,” says Jessup.

According to Professor Mike Hilton, these processes, at best, leave a ‘ploughed paddock’ in their wake, at worst a desert, where nothing can live or grow, and many hundreds of years will be needed to recover, if they recover at all.

On 19 November 2021, a Horizon Research poll, commissioned by the Hauraki Gulf Forum, showed that 84% of the public who live in the vicinity of the Hauraki Gulf, oppose mobile bottom contact fishing to continue, due to the destructive impact it has on marine species and ecosystems on the seafloor.

A great deal of damage has already occurred to the Hauraki Gulf through sandmining, seabed bottom trawling and Danish Seining. This has not only impacted on the ability of sea birds to source food for themselves and their chicks but also local iwi’s traditional rights to source kaimoana in the area. Other negative impacts include smashed corral, destroyed mussel beds,and smothering marine plants and wildlife. Regardless of this damage, sand mining is allowed to continue off the coast of Mangawhai and Pakiri despite these beaches being at a point of near collapse:

The Endangered Species Foundation’s view is that threatened, at risk and endangered marine life and birds have been negatively impacted by the sand mining and seabed bottom trawling. Over twenty species of birds in this area are declining or critical, most obviously is the tara iti, NZ fairy tern. The tara iti is listed as “nationally critical” which is the highest threat ranking for any endangered species. With only 10 breeding pairs left, it is New Zealand’s rarest endemic breeding bird with a current population of just 37 birds.

Ngāti Manuhiri are the recognised tāngata whenua of this area. “ We need to enable this iwi to lead so that collectively we can embrace the concepts and values of te Ao Māori and enable true kaitiakitanga for this rohe,” concludes Natalie.

Endangered Species Foundation, General Manager – Natalie Jessup E:


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