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Environment matters

Revitalising the Gulf Strategy –

Locals submit opposition to some aspects.

The Department of Conservation were receiving submissions until Friday, 28 October on the proposed marine protection plan for the Hauraki Gulf. There is a 116 page document setting out the detailed assessment of ALL proposed Marine Protection Areas (MPAs). Revitalising the Gulf sets out the actions Government will take to restore the health and mauri of the Hauraki Gulf guided by two overarching outcomes: 1. Effective kaitiakitanga and guardianship in the gulf.

2. Healthy functioning ecosystems that: a) underpin the wellbeing and prosperity of people who live, work, and play in the gulf, b) sustain healthy fisheries that replenish and enhance the pātaka kai (food basket) for customary, recreational, and commercial uses, c) regulate, support, and sustain the gulf, d) support resilient and diverse habitats and marine life.

The plan includes the extension of Te Whanganui a Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve.

The HaHei Residents and Ratepayers Association had their AGM on labour weekend. The matter of the Cathedral Cove (Te Whanganui a Hei) Marine Reserve Extension was a major discussion point. There are five pages relating to Hahei, which was the focus of the Residents and Ratepayers meeting.

Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is Coromandel Peninsula’s only marine reserve. Established in 1992, it is located on the east coast just north of Hahei. It protects 8.8 km2 of coastal waters, spanning 5 km of coastline and extending 1 km offshore. Several small nearshore islands and isolated patch reefs are included in the reserve. Ōi / grey-faced petrels (Pterodroma macroptera) are known to breed on Mahurangi Island (Goat Island) at the reserve’s southern boundary. The reserve is adjacent to the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve, which attracts large numbers of visitors every year. Direct pressures

Parts of the marine reserve, particularly Cathedral Cove and Stingray Bay, are heavily used recreationally, creating potential for trampling impacts on intertidal organisms and disturbance of coastal wildlife, particularly birds. Boat traffic includes kayaks and other vessels visiting the reserve or Cathedral Cove, as well as a large number that are just passing through. Launches occasionally anchor overnight off Cathedral Cove. The effect of this on coastal wildlife and species such as stingrays that use the shallows is unknown. Recreational fishing, including spear fishing and scuba diving for rock lobster, as well as commercial rock lobster fishing occurs around the boundary of the reserve. Recreational fishing can be intense during public holidays and illegal fishing in the reserve is not uncommon, particularly around the Mahurangi Island (Goat Island) boundary

History of Sea Change After 3 years of consultation, a non-statutory plan to improve the health of the Hauraki Gulf was published in April 2017. The plan, Sea Change, included amongst 180 proposals, was a recommendation to extend the te Whanganui a Hei/Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve. The Sea Change plan contained several controversial recommendations, so it was shelved until last year, the government decided to move ahead and created an advisory group to implement the plan. Marine reserves implementation is to be handled by DoC, while the Ministry of Fisheries will take care of other matters. For Hahei: The current plan is to expand the marine reserve about halfway along Hahei Beach, out to Mahurangi Island, then out across Mercury Bay. An additional 14.6km2 would be included in the reserve. Consensus on the following from Hahei Residents and Ratepayers Association 1. Hahei Beach Boundary: We do not agree that the marine reserve should be extended along Hahei Beach because:

§ It would be almost impossible to clearly identify the start/end of the Marine Reserve on a beach. This could lead to administration confusion relating to concessions, policing etc.

§ We believe dog owners should be able to walk their pets over the entire length of the beach when permitted by current TCDC regulations.

§ Hahei Residents believe they should retain the right to fish (or remove items such as shells or seaweed) along the entire beach

2. Mahurangi Island Boundary: A large majority would prefer that the north west coast of Mahurangi Island remain outside of any marine reserve expansion since it offers a safe family boating/fishing experience in adverse weather

3. Expansion of marine reserve seaward: All were in favour of this taking place

4. Enforcement: There is no point in expanding the reserve unless DOC provides better enforcement, case in point the management of freedom camping in the beachfront carpark website: Email:

Submission from Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club. Their submssion covered more intensively a wide range of subjects than that of Hahei Residents and Ratepayers.

§ Summary of the main points: We are opposed to DoC’s proposal to continue to allow dredging or bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf,much of which is important habitat for juveniles of many species.

§ We are opposed to the (more than) doubling of the size of the existing marine reserve out from Hahei.

§ We are opposed to the exclusion of surface trolling for big game fish in about 280 km2 north and south of the Alderman Islands.

§ We are opposed to bulk harvest of forage (bait) fish by purse seiners in the Hauraki Gulf.

The full submission is much more comprehensive and able to be read on Mercury Bay Game Fishing website.

Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club was formed in 1947. The club has over 3000 members and employs 14 staff. The club rooms are located in Whitianga opposite the main wharf. One of the objects per their constitution is the protection of fish and their food supply.

Proposed Marine Reserve Extension Follow us on Facebook Visit our website: Email us on: Our mailing address is: The Secretary, 3 Grange Road, RD1, Whitianga 3591 Copyright © 2022 Hahei Beach Ratepayers Association, All rights reserved.


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