New Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Plans
The Hauraki Gulf covers an area of more than 1.2 million hectares stretching from Mangawhai in the North, to Waihi on the Coromandel Peninsula with more than 50 islands including Great Barrier and Waiheke.
Following a report of our Hauraki Gulf’s sustainable future, the government has created and will be rolling out a plan to protect the Hauraki Gulf’s marine life.
Changes include large new marine protection zones and changes to fishing practices, including a significant restriction on commercial bottom trawling operations. Restrictions will stop the majority of commercial bottom trawling – but some would still be allowed in specific corridors. “This is the biggest control of bottom trawling that there is in any part of New Zealand, and we’re doing that because of the problems that we’ve currently got in the Gulf, in the confident belief this is going to make an enormous difference,” Parker said.
“We’re tripling the size of highly protected areas in the Gulf, which will allow not only fish stocks but all of the other seabirds, the shellfish and other species to reach higher numbers,” acting conservation minister Ayesha Verrall said.
Some of the measures in the new plan can be implemented soon, and others such as specific catch limits will be developed over the next 12 months. The new marine protected areas are expected to be passed into legislation and in force by the end of 2024.
The latest plan is to add 18 new marine protection areas, which would increase the protected parts of the Gulf almost threefold. Once expanded, the total marine protected areas – where people are not allowed to fish at all – will be 18 percent of the Gulf – about 200,000 hectares.