Green Party would ban bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf

Responding to the worrying findings of the latest State of our Gulf report, the Green Party says it would take action to ban bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf in the first 100 days of a new government.

“The Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana/Te Moanaui ā Toi is in crisis. Urgent changes are needed to how we manage fisheries and land use. The Green Party will start by protecting seabed habitats and marine life from  damaging bottom trawling,” says Green Party oceans and fisheries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“Exactly as expected, the latest State of our Gulf report shows the Hauraki Gulf to be in poor health. We are calling on the Government to act before it’s too late. Most people want bottom trawling stopped - and the time is now to make it happen. 

“Bottom trawling could be banned through the new Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill the Government announced this week, or by regulations under the Fisheries Act. If the Green Party is in a position to help form the next government, we will be at the table pushing for that change. 

“We will also strengthen the Fisheries Management Plan the Government released this week. The plan does not do nearly enough to ensure fish and marine species thrive and are abundant. 

“Our current fisheries management system is broken. The report highlights the fact the scallop population crashed by 37-85% in a single year before the fishery was closed. We simply can’t let this happen to other fish stocks and species. Not only that, but three of the top 20 species caught, by weight, are non-quota species. It is absurd that we are allowing extraordinary creatures like the eagle ray to be caught and killed. 

“The proposed new marine protection areas together with the existing cable protection zone will cover only 18% of the Gulf. This falls well short of what is required. 

“There needs to be a major reduction in sediment from earthworks and land development that goes into the water, and in nutrient pollution from agricultural land use on the Hauraki Plains that rivers carry into the sea. 

“The report also highlighted how essential tackling climate change is to protecting our oceans. Warmer and prolonged marine heatwaves contribute to mortality events for marine life. We need healthy oceans to help regulate the climate.

“Tīkapa Moana/Te Moanaui ā Toi/the Hauraki Gulf supports the wellbeing of more than 1.5 million people across Tāmaki Makaurau.  Today we are saying enough is enough to decades of neglect.

“Only with more Green MPs will we be able to take the necessary action to protect the health of our oceans, all the creatures that live in and on them, and people and communities who depend on healthy oceans for our survival and wellbeing,” says Eugenie Sage.

State of our Gulf 2023 is available here.

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