New Zealanders love the stunning Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/Hauraki Gulf. It’s popular for boating, nature watching, swimming and fishing. But there is a growing gap between the actual state of Tikapa Moana/Te Moanaui ā Toi/Hauraki Gulf and what iwi and the wider community desires.
Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/the Hauraki Gulf supports the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people, but it needs much better care to restore its health and mauri so that fish, dolphins, sea birds and other marine life are abundant, the water is clean and people can better enjoy this much valued area.
Only 15 percent of the natural level of snapper remain, and only 20 percent of mussel beds are left from what there was 80 years ago.
Once the sea floor of the Gulf was a colourful mosaic of different types of habitats such as seagrass beds, mussel beds and sponge gardens. But these habitats have been degraded by sediment run-off from subdivision and land development, ocean acidification caused by climate change, and fishing methods that damage the sea floor.
Commercial fishers in Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/the Hauraki Gulf take the greatest proportion of their catch using bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing practice that involves huge nets, with large metal plates and rubber wheels attached, being dragged over the seabed, crushing nearly everything in their path.
Commercial and recreational scallop dredging is a similarly indiscriminate method of fishing that harms the seabed.
In 2013, a collaborative, stakeholder led co-governance group was established to examine the causes of decline in the mauri, water quality, environmental health, fisheries and other natural resources of the Gulf. In December 2016, the “Sea Change -Tai Timu Tai Pari” project released their Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. It calls for fishing methods that damage the seafloor to be phased out. Government ministers have yet to respond to the plan.
We can have a healthy Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/Hauraki Gulf; ending bottom trawling and dredging is a first step to doing this. Government ministers need to act alongside Auckland Council, iwi and stakeholders.
Haumanu I ngā tūmomo ira ika me te mātai hauropi o te papa moana e hāpai ana I te oranga ake o aua tauranga.
Restoring depleted fish stocks and restoring benthic (sea floor) habitats that support healthy fisheries.
Let’s stop these fishing methods that damage Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/ the Hauraki Gulf seabed.
We are calling on the Government to end bottom trawling, purse seining and dredging.
No company should be allowed to profit from destroying the habitat of the Gulf, particularly when they can use other fishing methods, such as long-lining.
It's time the Government put a stop to bottom trawling, purse seining and dredging within the 1.2 million hectare Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Bottom trawling is already prohibited in the inner Gulf, but the Gulf would be healthier if these protections were extended to the outer Gulf as well.
We need to restore valuable seafloor habitats such as horse mussel beds, scallop beds, and sponge gardens. These provide a living habitat for other species and nurseries for juvenile fish. They support fisheries and help create a healthy Tikapa Moana/Te Moanaui ā Toi/Hauraki Gulf.
Auckland’s increasing population, greater recreational use of the Gulf and a better scientific understanding of how much its health has declined, mean we need to step up protection.
As manawhenua well understand, there’s a clear link between the health of Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/ Hauraki Gulf and the wellbeing of those who use it and are connected to it.
Extending the small existing trawl-free zone in the inner gulf to Great Barrier Island and the outer Gulf to make it free from trawling and dredging would protect the sea floor, help restore kai moana and be a first step in helping the Gulf to thrive.
If you love and want to protect Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi/Hauraki Gulf, please add your name to our petition.