19, Nov, 2021

Trawling and dredging the Hauraki Marine Park should end

Category: ECO Inc

Conservation groups and recreational fishers call for trawling, dredging and other mobile bottom contacting fishing methods to be stopped in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park - Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

The move follows the release today of an Horizon Research poll, commissioned by the Hauraki Gulf Forum, that shows that 84% of the public who live in the vicinity of the Hauraki Gulf do not want mobile bottom contact fishing to continue due to the destructive impact it has on marine species and ecosystems on the seafloor - only 3% opposed and 13% were not sure or had no opinion.

This is in contrast to the Government’s recent Revitalising the Gulf proposal which allows these activities to continue in the future.

The allied groups are calling for an end to all destructive mobile bottom fishing such as trawling, scallop dredging and Danish seining. The unprecedented alliance includes ECO, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace Aotearoa, WWF-NZ, Environmental Defence Society (EDS), the NZ Sports Fishing Council (NZSFC), LegaSea, the NZ Underwater Association and the NZ Angling & Casting Association.

“The Hauraki Gulf Forum’s poll provides stark proof that an overwhelming majority of people think it’s time to end fishing methods that crush seafloor animals to rubble, rip up the sea bed and leave it barren with little prospect of recovery” said Barry Weeber, Co-chair of ECO.

“This group represents a combined 1.2 million people and has banded together for the first time on an issue we see as one of the most important environmental impacts facing this taonga in Tāmaki-makau-rau. The Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana is recognised globally as a biodiversity hotspot for many species and it is one of New Zealand’s most valued and intensively used coastal spaces,” said Dr Aroha Spinks (WWF-NZ)

“It is clear from the latest State of the Gulf 2020 report that the Hauraki Gulf ecosystem is under enormous pressure, and is in a far worse state now than it was 20 years ago when the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park was established. There are widespread kina barrens, significant benthic habitat loss such as important three dimensional nursery habitat for fish, overfishing is occurring, tarakihi, crayfish and bait fish are in trouble and many shellfish stocks have collapsed,” said Bob Gutsell, New Zealand Sport Fishing Council President.

“We were devastated when the Government failed in its latest plan to ban bottom contact fishing methods from the Gulf. This was the wrong decision. Instead, the Government will introduce bottom trawling corridors and freeze the existing scallop bed footprint, after pressure from commercial fishers,” said Sam Woolford, LegaSea lead.

For the full release see: Groups unite to call an end to all of bottom contact fishing in the Hauraki Gulf 

BOP Times: Calls to ban bottom trawling from Hauraki Gulf

Gulf Journal: Results of Hauraki Gulf Poll


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