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.