Small steps for Hauraki Gulf protection, much more action needed

The Green Party welcomes the Government’s proposals for increased marine protection in the Hauraki Gulf, released today, but says much more needs to be done.

“It’s positive to see 18 new protected areas, and more resources for fisheries management, but these steps are not enough to meet the scale of the challenges we face in the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana Te Moananui a Toi,” says Green Party spokesperson for Oceans and Fisheries Eugenie Sage.

The Greens are disappointed by the timidity and lack of ambition in proposals, such as having ‘trawling corridors’ instead of ending high-impact bottom trawling across the Gulf.

“The 2016 Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari report recommended that the Government ‘exclude activities (e.g. dredging, bottom trawling, Danish seining, dumping and sea bed mining) that damage habitats by 2025’.

“The Government response should be proportionate to the importance of the Hauraki Gulf, the scale of the challenges, and the need for comprehensive action. It’s not.

“We desperately need to restore the seabed in the Gulf if we want healthy ecosystems and abundant fisheries for future generations, and that means we need to start completely phasing out activities like trawling and scallop dredging today; and substantially reduce sediment inputs.

“The Government should commit to protecting 30 percent of the Gulf, a goal which has been endorsed by the Hauraki Gulf Forum, so our oceans can start to recover and fish, and seabirds and marine life thrive,” Eugenie Sage said.

“Communities are taking it upon themselves to protect our moana, such as the Waiheke Island rāhui, and this shows the Government has the support to go further and faster,” said Green MP for Auckland Central, Chlöe Swarbrick.

ENDS

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