The Hauraki Gulf Alliance, today expressed deep concern to Hon Rachel Brooking, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, about the ongoing practice of bottom trawling, scallop dredging, and Danish seining in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
The Alliance, including the Endangered Species Foundation, represents a large number of concerned citizens, businesses and environmental groups, and has collectively called for a ban on destructive fishing methods in this cherished and battered marine ecosystem.
"We believe that the "Revitalising the Gulf" plan misses a key opportunity to effectively address the deterioration of marine ecosystems in the Hauraki Gulf," says Natalie Jessup, GM for the Endangered Species Foundation.
This plan favours commercial fishing interests over environmental preservation, and it appears that a ban on destructive harvesting methods was never genuinely considered.
The Hauraki Gulf is home to many endangered and declining species, including Brydes Whales, kera wēra (orca), kororā (little penguins), terehu (Bottlenose dolphins), many species of petrel and shearwaters, the tūturiwhatu (dotterels), and many more marine species.
Manu (bird) pics: Peter Drury
There is also a real urgency to actively remedy this situation, with growing concerns around the the invasive seaweed Caulerpa, which could spread rapidly due to these fishing methods.
We urge the Minister to uphold the statutory obligation to address such threats and prevent further long-term damage to the Gulf's ecosystems.
"We cannot revive our unique and special marine life if we continue to bottom trawl and destroy our seabed," says Natalie.
"Hon Rachel Brooking, the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, needs to take decisive action by banning bottom trawling, scallop dredging, and Danish seining in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park".
At the very least, these prohibitions need to be considered in the upcoming consultation process regarding fishing zones.
The Endangered Species Foundation urges everyone to advocate for the ban of destructive fishing methods here in Aotearoa. Together we can be a voice for our most precious biodiversity and help to restore the health of our ocean habitats.
You can email, call or write to Hon Rachel Brooking:
Phone: 04 817 8807
Write: Freepost PO Box 18 888.
The Hauraki Gulf Alliance letter to Hon Rachel Brooking is below: