North­land mari­nas op­pose council fee


North­land mari­nas are op­pos­ing a ma­rine bio-se­cu­rity charge by the North­land Re­gional Council.

Whangaroa, Kerik­eri, Bay of Is­lands, Whangarei and Riverside mari­nas are calling for moor­ing hold­ers not to pay the charge un­til le­gal as­sess­ments have been com­pleted.

The charge set at $79.50 con­trib­utes to a to­tal an­nual moor­ing charge of $261.50 for more than 4000 moor­ing and ma­rina berth hold­ers. Ad­di­tion­ally three large Whangarei com­mer­cial fa­cil­i­ties will be charged.

With the in­creas­ing threat of ma­rine pests, the NRC says the new charge will con­trib­ute to the $480,000 cost of man­ag­ing their ma­rine biose­cu­rity pro­gramme.

The Mediter­ranean fan worm, which is thought to smother other sea life, has been dis­cov­ered on the seabed in Whangarei and on boats in Rus­sell,Whangaroa and Tu­tukaka.

Kerik­eri Cruis­ing Club spokesper­son Gill Durham says they sup­port a pest man­age­ment plan, but want it to be more re­al­is­tic.

Of con­cern are rules which out­line foul­ing (or ma­rine growth) on boat hulls must not ex­ceed more than five per cent, Durham says.

Other con­cerns in­clude how to safely as­sess whether your boat is ex­ceed­ing the five per cent foul­ing rule and how the 3000 to 4000 vis­it­ing ves­sels to North­land could bring ma­rine pests into the re­gion.

Durham says they sug­gested a clean ves­sel pass like that in Fiord­land, as a pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive rule.

‘‘You would be re­quired to present to NRC a plan to keep the hull clean which gives you the con­fi­dence you are do­ing the right thing.’’

NRC chief ex­ec­u­tive Mal­colm Nicolson says a clean ves­sel pass was not con­sid­ered as an al­ter­na­tive mea­sure at this stage.

As­sess­ing boat hulls ‘‘can de un­der­taken with­out too much dif­fi­culty’’, he says.

‘‘Slime layer and bar­na­cles are ac­cept­able, macro­foul­ing is not.’’

An an­nual hull in­spec­tion pro­gramme will mon­i­tor boats. Kerik­eri Cruis­ing Club com­modore Doug France says if the tar­geted pests aren’t in the area, then moor­ing hold­ers shouldn’t have to pay.

‘‘We all ben­e­fit from a clean en­vi­ron­ment and if the biose­cu­rity was good, pests should have been stopped at the bor­der,’’ France says.

Gill Durham and Doug France are ask­ing moor­ing hold­ers to with­hold pay­ing a new bio-se­cu­rity charge.

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