Ef­fects of fish­ing taken into ac­count


More pro­tec­tion for species like cray­fish and Maui’s dol­phin could be pos­si­ble af­ter a High Court rul­ing that is likely to give re­gional coun­cils more say in coastal ar­eas, in­clud­ing on some of the ef­fects of fish­ing.

This af­ter iwi in Tau­ranga sought bet­ter pro­tec­tion for the Astro­labe Reef - dec­i­mated when opened up to fish­ing af­ter the Rena sal­vage.

Re­gional coun­cils have con­trol out to 12 nau­ti­cal miles but, have lit­tle say on fish­ing there. Both the Fish­ing Act and RMA ap­ply in that area, the High court noted.

Iwi ar­gued the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA) gave the Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil the abil­ity to pro­tect the reef.

The High Court rul­ing set aside a pre­vi­ous En­vi­ron­ment Court rul­ing which agreed, but ruled some fish­ing can be reg­u­lated to pro­tect na­tive ma­rine species.

There is no duty to main­tain in­dige­nous bio­di­ver­sity un­der the Fish­eries Act, but it is a core func­tion of Re­gional Coun­cils un­der the RMA, the court said.

Not ex­pect­ing big changes, Auck­land Coun­cil­lor for Waitem­ata and Gulf and com­mit­tee mem­ber on the Hau­raki Gulf Fo­rum Mike Lee sees some ben­e­fits for the Gulf.

Man­dat­ing tori lines on all fish­ing boats to avoid seabirds, like black pe­trels, tak­ing the hooks of long­lines could be pos­si­ble, he said, as would pro­tect­ing ma­rine mam­mals from ves­sels would be a good place to be­gin, he

‘‘Re­gional Coun­cils are able to im­pose con­trols’’

Sally Gepp


Ma­rine ecol­o­gists Dr Tim Hag­gitt and Dr Nick Shears said over-fish­ing had left so few cray­fish in the Gulf they were ‘func­tion­ally ex­tinct’ call­ing for fish­eries man­age­ment changes along with fish­ing pres­sure out­side is af­fect­ing the Leigh Ma­rine Re­serve.

Set net­ting and crab­bing off north­ern beaches has seen swim­mers tan­gling in nets, and fears dis­carded crab bait would at­tract preda­tory gulls to a nearby shore­bird sanc­tu­ary at Omaha but couldn’t be con­sid­ered ex­cept for health and safety.

‘‘It just con­firms re­gional coun­cils are able to im­pose con­trols should they be demon­strated as be­ing nec­es­sary and ap­pro­pri­ate in par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tions,’’ For­est & Bird lawyer Sally Gepp said.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) is cur­rently work­ing through the judge’s rul­ing to fully un­der­stand its im­pli­ca­tions.


Fish life around the Rena re­mains dur­ing sal­vage op­er­a­tions.

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