Recreational fishing park or marine park?
A Government proposal for a recreational fishing park in the Marlborough Sounds will need to incorporate wider iwi and community aspirations for the area, the minister responsible says.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy made the comment when asked what he thought about the Marlborough Marine Futures proposal to establish a marine park in the Marlborough Sounds.
The group recently released a discussion document detailing the proposal, based on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which was met with widespread support at a forum in May.
Guy said the Government’s recreational fishing park, which was announced last January, could include wider proposals for customary fishing, and balancing marine protection and use.
‘‘We expect that this will align with many of the aspirations described in the MMF proposal, such as improving marine protection and sustainable use, and reducing conflicts between users and values within this important and busy area,’’ he said.
‘‘We will need to work through these issues in detail with iwi, communities and stakeholders, in order to develop a more detailed proposal.’’
Marlborough Marine Futures co-ordinator Peter Lawless welcomed the comments as a sign the Government was willing to listen to community concerns about how the Marlborough Sounds was managed.
However, he described the original proposal to exclude commercial fishers from the area as a blunt instrument that did not address the different factors that were affecting the health of the Marlborough Sounds.
‘‘It doesn’t resolve the issue in a way that will lead to an abundance of fish, let alone protection of the marine environment,’’ he said.
Lawless said an integrated management approach, that took into consideration factors ranging from land use to fishing, needed to be adopted for any plan to protect the area to be effective.
He said the Marlborough Sounds Integrated Management Trust, which ran the Marlborough Marine Futures project, would be delighted if the Government used the ideas put forward in the discussion document.
The document included sections on how a marine park would be created, how it would be managed, and how a zoning system based on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park would work.
‘‘What we propose is a multipleuse management area with a primary conservation purpose,’’ the discussion paper said.
Lawless said new legislation would be needed to create a mar- ine park in the Marlborough Sounds, as had already happened in the Hauraki Gulf, Kaikoura and Fiordland.
Alternatively, the Government could include provisions in the proposed Marine Protected Areas Act - which need to pass into law for the Marlborough Sounds recreational fishing park to go ahead - for the establishment of marine parks, he said.
Lawless said the proposal set out in the discussion paper was meant to encourage conversation, and help reconcile conflicting points of views to build consensus among the community about how the Marlborough Sounds should be managed.
‘‘When the local community and the relevant stakeholders agree, Government will implement, that’s what has happened in both Kaikoura and Fiordland,’’ he said. Marlborough Marine Futures is holding another forum on the proposal at Waikawa Boating Club on Sunday. Registrations start at 9.30am.
The Government wants to turn the Marlborough Sounds into a recreational fishing park, while Marlborough Marine Futures wants a marine park for the area.