Last week, the government announced that 17 new marine protected areas and extensions to two existing marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf will proceed
This will help restore the overall productivity of the Gulf, including enhancing fish production. . The Gulf has been experiencing long-term declines in biodiversity, depletion of taonga species and loss of important benthic habitat, as well as the recent invasion of caulerpa and damaging marine heatwaves.
The changes are outlined in the draft Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament in coming weeks.
However, the changes do not ban bottom trawling. Conservationists, including Forest and Bird, LegaSea, WWF, New Zealand Sport Fishing and Greenpeace presented a petition with 36,589 signatures to MPs calling for bottom trawling, scallop dredging and Danish seining to be banned from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
Image: Abigail Dougherty/Stuff