The government's legislative announcement to implement greater marine protection will see around 6% of the Gulf highly protected and this must be supported. However, the claim that marine protection will expand to 18% of the Marine Park touted in the announcement isn't credible as it includes both the cable protection zones and the new ‘Seafloor Protection Areas’ [SPAs]. The cable zones are narrow, not designed or chosen to allow the marine ecosystem to recover, and while SPAs protect the sea floor they still allow for ‘all of column’ fishing.
The widely supported call for an end to bottom trawling in the Gulf went unanswered [aside from the proposed new SPAs where seafloor fishing methods will be banned] noted only as the subject of on-going conversations. We believe bottom trawling should banned across the whole of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The urgency around the need for further protection was echoed in the 2023 State of the Gulf report, released today by the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Forum co-chair Toby Adams said "The Hauraki Gulf continues to be pummelled by our actions on land and at sea, plus the spread of new invasive species and increasing impacts from climate change."
That said, the marine protection announcement is a big step in the right direction for the struggling Gulf, and testament to the efforts of the many individuals and organisations who have dedicated up to a decade and continue to push hard (and one epic swim).
This gives us greater hope for our marine environment. Huge thank you to everyone in our Live Ocean whānau who has played a part – especially those in our wider community who took the time to make a submission in support last October. The work isn't done by any stretch... (LiveOcean)