Waiheke Local Board is supporting a two-year rāhui placed by local iwi Ngāti Pāoa over the entire coastline of the island in an effort to protect four species of kaimoana.
The rāhui extends outward from the island’s coast-line for 1 nautical mile and aims to restore numbers of kōura (crayfish), tīpa (scallops), kūtai (mussels) and pāua, all of which are in decline or are considered functionally extinct.
Ngāti Pāoa have been concerned for years about declining marine biodiversity in the waters surrounding the island. Following hui with the community and mana whenua, the iwi placed the rāhui at a dawn ceremony over the weekend.
Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) are currently considering Ngāti Pāoa’s application for temporary closure. MPI is obliged to consult prior to ratifying a rāhui and once granted, MPI fisheries officers can enforce the restrictions.
Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley says the board are encouraging MPI to consult on Ngāti Pāoa’s application and are seeking further support for that action from the Hauraki Gulf Forum, Auckland Council’s Governing Body and Mayor Phil Goff.
“We’re also seeking an assurance from Hon David Parker, Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, that legislation will be drafted this year to further protect the Hauraki Gulf. It’s been in the wings for years.
“We also want to see a network of marine reserves established within a range of Marine Protected Areas in the Gulf.
“Our Waiheke Local Board Plan outlines our commitment to actively promote the development of marine protection strategies. We consulted on our plan with the community last year and it reflects their aspirations for the island.
“There is a great deal of will on Waiheke for significant marine protections for the Hauraki Gulf, particularly for marine reserves. Our community’s overwhelmingly positive response to the household survey in 2015 supports that, as does the response to the 2020 Local Board Plan,” says Cath Handley.
Read Waiheke Local Board’s notice of motion to support the Waiheke rāhui.