Source: New Zealand Government
Government Ministers today celebrated 20 years of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park/ Ko te Pataka kai o Tikapa Moana/ Te Moananui a Toi, and recognise there is much to celebrate and so much more to do to give nature a helping hand.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said “New Zealanders care deeply about nature.I want to offer my thanks to those agencies, iwi, Forum members, and the community who have worked hard over the last 20 years to ensure generations now and in the future can enjoy Tikapa Moana.
“Together, our work is transforming Gulf islands into pest-free sanctuaries for endangered native birds, reptiles and insects – now we must turn our attention and go further and faster to restore our unique marine habitats.
“The Hauraki Gulf /Tikapa Moana was once home to abundant native shellfish that formed expansive reefs and beds. Most of these beds have now been lost through over-fishing and environmental degradation of land around the Gulf.
“Shellfish beds are vital to the healthy functioning of Tikapa Moana/ the Hauraki Gulf. They filter sediments and contaminants from seawater, provide a home for fish nurseries, stabilise the seabed, and enhance biodiversity – it’s important we do all we can to restore them and the health of the Gulf. This requires people to work together.
“We’re working to improve the health of the Hauraki Gulf. A Ministerial Advisory Committee is working through the recommendations from the collaborative Sea Change plan to prioritise and implement work. The Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand are assisting, and a report to Ministers is due later this year.
Fisheries Minster Stuart Nash says “fisheries management in the Hauraki Gulf is an important component of overall collaborative restoration and rebuilding efforts,”
“Where stocks are depleted there are rebuilding plans in place and catches have been cut. This includes crayfish, snapper, and tarakihi. For shellfish beds, a new scientific survey of cockle and pipi habitats is underway.
“We are also looking at the ways in which we can better incorporate ecosystem-based fisheries management principals into the way we manage the Hauraki Gulf and the wider fisheries stocks,” Mr Nash said.
“There is a lot of mahi to do. Our Government is committed to working to restore and protect the health of Tikapa/Moana the Hauraki Gulf,” Eugenie Sage said.