New plan to restrict fishing in Hauraki Gulf unveiled

6:04 pm on 6 December 2016

Tougher restrictions on recreational and commercial fishing in the Hauraki Gulf are proposed in a new plan being unveiled in Auckland.

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Thirteen new protected areas in the Hauraki Gulf would be created under the plan. Photo:

The plan, which was released to the public tonight, aims to tackle growing problems like depleted seafood stocks, sediment damage and pressures from population growth.

It suggests creating 13 new marine protected areas and extending two existing ones to support fish and seafood stocks.

The governance group that produced the plan also wants to eventually ban certain commercial fishing methods and review the way fish stocks are managed.

Its plan sets limits on sediment and nutrients from farming and suggests areas for expanded sustainable marine farming.

It also wants to create new local marine areas to support sustainable use of the gulf.

The country's first marine spatial plan - called "Sea Change -Tai Timu Tai Pari" - has been four years in the making. It is being unveiled in Auckland this evening, and in Thames tomorrow.

Agencies involved in the non-statutory plan included the Auckland Council, the Waikato Regional Council, local councils, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The co-chair of the group in charge of the plan, Paul Majurey, said the plan was "designed to improve the mauri (life force and vitality) of the gulf and better protect it for current and future generations".

"We all need to work together if the gulf and its resources are to be better protected. This plan provides us with a blueprint for action to make the gulf increasingly productive, and to support healthy and prosperous communities within its boundaries."

The plan has been developed as the gulf comes under increasing pressures that have resulted in depleted fish and kaimoana stocks, smothering of marine life by fine sediments washed off the land, declining biodiversity and population growth.

The report from the group said the number of people living within 80km of the gulf was expected to grow to 2.8 million by 2030, putting the health of the marine park at greater risk.

Central and local government agencies will now consider the suggestions.

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