The Hauraki Gulf is New Zealand’s first marine park but suffers badly from pollution.
Auckland Council is appealing to boaties and leisure craft users to be waste-wise on the water over summer to conserve the region’s oceans and coastlines.
Co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf forum, Councillor Pippa Coom, says the Hauraki Gulf (Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi), is Auckland’s “stunning blue backyard”.
“We are so fortunate to have New Zealand’s first marine park right here on our doorstep. It is the seabird capital of the world and a whale superhighway,” she says.
But she adds that the Gulf is hurting from the amount of plastic and other pollution that finds its way in to the water.
In an effort to curb the level of pollution, Council offers the following tips for those heading out on a boat this summer …
• Remove any unnecessary packaging before you head to sea. Re-pack snacks into reusable containers and leave the soft plastic packaging behind. Avoid plastic wrap by wrapping your sandwiches in reusable beeswax wraps or storing them in reusable containers.
• Keep covered rubbish and recycling bins on board. Make sure all your litter makes it into a bin. This includes cigarette butts and fishing line. Dispose of your waste responsibly once you are back on land.
• Avoid single-use bottled water – fill up and bring reusable water bottles on your trip.
• If you see rubbish floating by, scoop it out of the sea, even if it’s not yours. It’s just one of the things you can do to Be A Tidy Kiwi.
• Fish heads and frames have a lot of food on them. If you don’t want them, give them to someone who does. Head to Free Fish heads NZ to find your nearest drop off point.
• Fish with reusable lures and hooks. Try to avoid using homemade, single-use lures made with soft plastics.
• Save your shellfish or fish scraps to make your own berley, rather than buying berley in a plastic bag.
Sustainable Coastlines – a New Zealand charity devoted coastline and waterway protection – have conducted audits of waste materials found in the ocean, on beaches and in estuaries.
The worst offenders are: plastic of unknown origin; food wrappers and containers; plastic bottle caps and lids; plastic bags; and polystyrene/foam.