Recreational fishing parks proposed in Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds as part of Marine Protected Area reform

  • Nick Smith
  • Nathan Guy
  • Maggie Barry
Environment Primary Industries Conservation

The Government has today launched a consultation document on a new Marine Protected Areas Act to replace the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that includes proposals for recreational fishing parks in the inner Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

“We are proposing a new system of marine protection that will include marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, seabed reserves, and recreational fishing parks. This more sophisticated approach with four different types of marine protection is similar to the graduated approach we take to reserves on land that vary from strict nature reserves to those for a specific or recreational purpose,” says Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“We want to improve community and iwi involvement in marine protection and develop a comprehensive network of areas that better protects marine life and which enhances New Zealanders’ enjoyment of our marine environment.”

“The new recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds enhance the recreational experience in these areas. There is currently an estimated 870 tonne per year of commercial catch in the proposed Hauraki Park and 139 tonne per year in the proposed Marlborough Sounds Park that would be discontinued within the park boundaries,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“Removing commercial competition in these popular inshore fishing areas will enhance the recreational fishing experience.

“We also need to recognise that a growing population, more recreational boats, and technology like fish finders is putting greater pressure on the resource. These recreational fishing parks will enable recreational fishers to have a greater involvement in management decisions and more responsibility in ensuring sustainability.

“We recognise that there will be an impact on some commercial fishers with these fishing parks and are proposing an appropriate compensation regime for any affected quota holders.”

“Marine conservation is incredibly important to New Zealand with an estimated 80 per cent of indigenous biodiversity and over 15,000 known species found in the sea. New Zealand has a proud heritage of being one of the first countries in the world to provide for no-take marine reserves, including the proposal to create the 620,000 square kilometre Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary,” says Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.

“However, the old Act is no longer fit for modern purpose. These new proposals provide a better and more flexible process for establishing and managing marine reserves and will enable species sanctuaries for not just marine mammals but other significant species such as albatross and great white sharks.”

“This reform is the next step in our programme of work for New Zealand to be a leader in the sustainable use and management of our marine environment. We have an excellent system of commercial fishery management with the quota management system. We introduced in 2009 a proper regulatory system for the management of other activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone with the establishment of the Environmental Protection Authority. We will be passing legislation this year for one of the world’s largest no-take areas with the new Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. This next step of a new Marine Protective Areas Act will provide a wider range of marine protection tools and a better system for their establishment and management,” Dr Smith said.

Ministers welcome feedback and submissions on the proposals in today’s discussion document - A New Marine Protected Areas Act. Submissions close on 11 March. The proposals are then intended to be drafted into a bill to be introduced into Parliament and subjected to further public input by way of select committee hearings.

For a copy of the discussion document go to: