21 Oct 2011

Fishing ban could be in place until Christmas

10:18 pm on 21 October 2011

Eastern Bay of Plenty Maori say they are in the throes of a crisis due to the container ship disaster off Tauranga and have banned any fishing down their coastline.

The Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef on October 5. Up to 350 tonnes of oil and debris from container ships has spilled into the ocean, washing up on Bay of Plenty beaches and as far as Te Araroa and the East Cape.

Skips have been delivered to the worst-hit beaches and volunteers have been collecting rubbish on Friday.

A rahui, or fishing ban, has been placed on the coast by the local iwi stretching from Tauranga to Hicks Bay.

Iwi say the ban will be in place at least until Christmas and the area could take years to recover.

Te Whanau-a-Apanui spokesperson Robert Ruha says the contamination means the community will no longer be able to collect any seafood from along the coast.