Pro­tect­ing gulf on agenda in marine plan

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

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