Protecting gulf on agenda in marine plan
Protecting the Hauraki Gulf from exotic marine pests and water contamination is the aim of a new coastal plan.
The Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial plan will not be a legal document but will shape how the gulf is used and safeguarded in the future.
It is organised by government agencies and the Waikato regional and Auckland councils. So far, 27 feedback sessions have been held relating to the gulf since January. A stakeholder group was created with gulf users and mana whenua included.
Herne Bay and St Mary’s Bay residents highlighted a raft of major gulf issues including declining fish numbers, contaminated water, fan worms, other exotic marine pests, public access and increasing pressure on boat ramps.
About 250 people took part in the feedback sessions which drew on the anecdotes and views of those who use the gulf frequently, chairman Nick Main says.
The gulf is important ecologically and economically, he says.
‘‘People in these communities have intimate knowledge of the gulf, its resources and how the marine space works.’’
Main was previously chairman of the New Zea- land Business Council for Sustainable Development and is tasked with managing the plan’s progress.
He says the sea change group still wants feedback from Aucklanders on the plan. A survey has been created at seachange.org.nz/ SWG-in/Roundtables.
The survey runs until December and focuses on the gulf issues identified.
Comments from the surveys will help shape a report on the plan, due back to the stakeholder group in early 2015.
The plan will be finalised by September 2015.
Events are being held around Auckland at which people can contribute their views to the plan.
The next event is at the Auckland On Water Boat Show at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour from September 25 to 28.