Forum ratchets up gulf protection

The Hauraki Gulf Forum today (Monday May 20) recommended that at least 20 per cent of the gulf be protected.
The forum has also recommended that restoration efforts establish 1000 km2 of shellfish-beds and reefs.
Forum Chairperson John Meeuwsen says that if implemented, the goals will help reverse the gulf’s ecological decline and deliver broad benefits.
Mr Meeuwsen added that protection could take many forms, including no-take marine reserves, restrictions on fishing methods and rāhui, among others.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, and with large events such as the America’s Cup, Te Matatini and APEC coming to Auckland in 2021.
Mr Meeuwsen says that the time is ripe for all communities of the Hauraki Gulf to come together and commit to action.
“At present only a tiny percentage, 0.3 per cent, of the 12,000 square kilometre marine park is covered by ‘no-take’ marine reserves and we need to dramatically lift our collective ambition.
“We know that marine ecosystems are remarkably resilient if given a chance to recover, and we must give them that chance. Inaction is not an option.”
Mr Meeuwsen says that it is the work of regulators like central, regional and local government, working in partnership with mana whenua and the communities of the gulf, to ultimately implement the forum’s recommendations.
“The forum is not an implementing body. While our recommendations are not binding, they do carry political weight. It will be up to the forum’s members, and other stakeholders, to act on the recommendations and implement them.”
At its next meeting in August, the forum will consider a paper regarding further elaboration of those aspirational goals and the next steps involved in achieving them.
The Haruaki Gulf Forum’s 2019 conference will be held on August 27 at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum and will focus on the two goals recommended at today’s meeting.
The forum is the statutory body tasked with progressing integrated management of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.


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