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Successive reports on the state of the environment have shown an ongoing decline of the health of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
Fish stocks are depleted yet bottom trawling and commercial scallop harvesting using the Victorian Box Dredge is still permitted within the Park boundaries.
In June 2021 the Government released an action plan: Revitalising the Gulf. This latest plan was in response to the 2017 Sea Change plan.
Sea Change plan
An integrated series of fisheries management and marine protection tools were proposed in the Sea Change plan. We were part of a working group that spent years putting the plan together. All agreed it was a package deal, no cherry picking.
At the end of 2016 the plan was handed over to officials from DoC and Fisheries New Zealand to promote through Government channels and find resourcing to fund its enactment. We exited the process optimistic that meaningful change was on the horizon.
The Government’s Revitalising the Gulf action plan delivered in the last week of June 2021 is not what we had agreed to in 2016.
What does it mean?
We are disappointed and concerned that the Government’s Revitalising the Gulf action plan does little to defend the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park from ongoing destructive fishing practices.
Commercial fishing remains largely untouched. There is no intent to reduce the excessive exploitation rates on species such as gurnard, kahawai, John dory, trevally, rock lobster, hapukū, maomao and others.
Destructive fishing techniques such as bottom trawling, dredging, Danish seining and purse seining are still permitted. Some “trawl corridors” will be created, not sure when or where. Meanwhile there are proposals to restrict recreational fishing, limiting the ability of people fishing to put food on the table.
The Government is relying on creating 18 new marine protected areas to revitalise a century of damage.
The proposed pockets of marine protected areas will merely shift fishing effort out into the wider Gulf and beyond, with no intent to manage the displaced effort. A bit like a balloon, if you squeeze it in one place the rest is put under pressure. This is not an acceptable way to treat the Gulf’s neighbours in Northland and the Bay of Plenty.
The fishery interventions so urgently needed are absent, all left to be dealt with at a later date via a plan for a plan. A plan to deliver a plan for fisheries management some time in the future is not bold. Nor is it transformative.
Not good enough.
In order to understand how we have arrived at this juncture, the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has collated a range of documents, research papers and articles below to help inform future discussions.
The planning process was initiated by the Auckland Council and Waikato Regional Council, supported by iwi/hapū, the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Expert and scientific advice was obtained from NIWA, DoC, MPI and Council officials. Implementation responsibility was shared between DoC and MPI.
In 2011 the Hauraki Gulf Forum released a draft plan for the Gulf waters and proposed some marine protected areas. Implementation of the plan was expected by 2015. Discussions continued and a stakeholder working group was established in December 2013.
In 2014 seven ‘Roundtables’ were established to focus on specific aspects that were affecting the Gulf. Those Roundtables were: Fish stocks, Biodiversity & Biosecurity, Water quality, Aquaculture, Accessible Gulf, and Infrastructure & commercial uses. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council (NZSFC) participated in the Fish stocks and Biodiversity & Biosecurity roundtables.
Roundtable membership was chosen by the organisers and included representatives from a variety of commercial interests, non-commercial organisations, NGOs and private citizens living around the Gulf.
By the end of 2014 the Roundtables completed their discussions and a formal handover of information to the Stakeholder Working Group (SWG) occurred in February 2015. The SWG was expected to report to government in June 2015.
The process stalled in 2015. Renewed interest in the process led to a new independent chair being appointed to the SWG in September 2015. The NZSFC had one representative on the SWG until his departure in October 2015. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council nominated a new representative to the Working Group in December 2015.
Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari
In December 2016 the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan was released however it wasn’t widely published until March 2017. Another State of the Environment report was published by the Hauraki Gulf Forum in December 2017, showing further declines in fish populations and the health of the marine environment.
No further progress was made until the Hauraki Gulf Forum released its 2020 State of the Environment report. By April 2020 the government released its response to the Sea Change plan.
In June 2020 the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council submitted a comprehensive response to the government’s strategy. This submission was a joint statement from a range of organisations concerned about the ongoing degradation and lack of meaningful response to address the well known issues affecting the Gulf.
In June 2021 the government released an action plan to give effect to the Sea Change proposals. The action plan strategy: Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan. Turning the Tide on the Declining Health of the Hauraki Gulf.
The action plan package includes proposals for 18 new marine protected areas and a fisheries plan that seeks to limit recreational fishing while leaving commercial fishing and destructive fishing practices virtually untouched.
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park was established in 2000 to provide for the wellbeing of all people of the Gulf. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and LegaSea will work with its partners and like-minded conservation organisations to ensure a fair outcome from this process so people can continue to fish responsibly and provide for their family’s social and cultural wellbeing from fishing.
Not everyone is happy with Government's Gulf plan. The Informer. 29 June 2021
Article. Not everyone is happy with the Government’s response to Sea Change. The Revitalising the Gulf Plan has raised many concerns. The Informer. 29 June 2021.
Action plan 2020-21
Hauraki Gulf. Sea Change action plan summary. Government. June 2021
Summary of the government’s action plan to revitalise the Hauraki Gulf. Released 22 June 2021.
Hauraki Gulf. Sea Change full action plan. Government. June 2021
Government’s response to Sea Change. A comprehensive plan to revitalise the Hauraki Gulf. Released 22 June 2021
Advice. Sea Change technical advice on MPA selection. DoC. May 2021
Sea Change. Technical analysis and advice on MPA selection. DoC. May 2021. Dept of Conservation. May 2021.
Advice. Hauraki Gulf species management and research gaps. DoC. 1 Oct 2020
Sea Change. Hauraki Gulf species management and research gap analysis. Dept of Conservation. 1 October 2020.
Hauraki Gulf. Invitation to Sea Change action plan event. Jun 2021
Government invitation to launch event of the Sea Change action plan. 16 June 2021.
Article. Sea Change plan fishing restrictions. Radio NZ. 22 Jun 2021
Fishing restrictions and new protection areas for Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana. Article. Radio NZ. 22 June 2021.
Article. Bringing back the health of the Hauraki Gulf. David Parker. 22 June 2021
Minister David Parker. Press release promoting new marine protected areas and recreational fishing restrictions for the Hauraki Gulf. 22 June 2021.
Article. Ngāti Wai left out of Hauraki Gulf planning. 22 June 2021
Ngāti Wai are upset at being left out of Hauraki Gulf planning process. DoC responds by saying Ngāti Wai were involved and consulted. Te Ao – Māori News. 22 June 2021.
Article. Hauraki Gulf protections not enough. 1 News. 22 June 2021
Advocates say the Government’s Hauraki Gulf action plan doesn’t go far enough. 1 News. 22 June 2021.
Article. Hauraki Gulf changes raises challenges. 25 June 2021
Hauraki Gulf Government action plan highlights the challenges and opportunities for David Parker to implement meaningful change. Mirage News. 25 June 2021.
Media. Hauraki Gulf issues
Article. Community ban on scallop dredging. 23 March 2021
Communities rally to ban scallop dredging in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Media release. Fishing and customary interests. 23 March 2021.
Article. Groups call for wider marine protection. NZSFC. 9 March 2021
Media release. NZSFC & LegaSea call for wider marine protection of the Hauraki Gulf. 9 March 2021.
Submission. Government's Sea Change strategy. Recreational interests. June 2020
Joint recreational interests submission in response to the Government’s Sea Change strategy. 5 June 2020.
Hauraki Gulf Forum media release. 26 May 2020
Hauraki Gulf Forum media release. Ambitious goals for the Hauraki Gulf and marine protection. 26 May 2020.
Government response to Sea Change plan. Apr 2020
Presentation. Government response strategy to the Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan. April 2020.
Report. State of the Hauraki Gulf environment. HG Forum. Feb 2020
Tikapa Moana – Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report. Hauraki Gulf Forum. February 2020.
Article. Sea Change to be enacted. Radio NZ. 22 Nov 2018
Sea Change plan to be restarted. A Ministerial Advisory Committee will be appointed. Radio NZ. 22 November 2018.
Hauraki Gulf. State of Environment report summary. HG Forum. Dec 2017
Tikapa Moana – Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report summary. Hauraki Gulf Forum. December 2017.
Hauraki Gulf. State of Environment report. HG Forum. Dec 2017
Tikapa Moana – Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report. Hauraki Gulf Forum. December 2017.
Hauraki Gulf. Marine Spatial Plan summary. May 2017
Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan summary. Sea Change Project Steering and Working Groups. May 2017.
Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan. Project Group. 7 Dec 2016
Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan. Sea Change Project Steering and Working Groups. 7 December 2016.
Report. Summary of Sea Change process. NZSFC. 7 Dec 2016
NZSFC summary of the process to develop the Sea Change Marine Spatial Plan. 7 December 2016.
Report. Hauraki Gulf cable protection zone assessment. Auck Council. Feb 2016
Assessment of the Hauraki Gulf cable protection zone. Auckland Council. February 2016.
Letter. Sea Change Working Group invitation response. NZSFC. Dec 2015
NZSFC accept a renewed invitation to nominate a representative to the Sea Change Stakeholder Working Group. 7 December 2015.
Letter. Sea Change Working Group invitation response. NZSFC. Oct 2015
NZSFC do not accept the invitation to appoint another representative to the Sea Change Stakeholder Working Group, due to other commitments. 6 October 2015
Letter. Sea Change Working Group invitation. Sept 2015
Sea Change Working Group invitation for the NZSFC to appoint a new member to the Working Group given the resignation of an earlier representative. 29 September 2015
Process paused. No further development by officials.
Report. Sea Change handover meeting. NZSFC. 2 Feb 2015
Report on the Sea Change meeting with the Stakeholder Working Group to hand over the Fisheries roundtable report. NZSFC. 2 February 2015.
Report. Sea Change Fisheries roundtable summary. Feb 2015
Sea Change. Summary of Fisheries roundtable discussions and outcomes. Given to Stakeholder Working Group. February 2015
Report. Sea Change Biodiversity roundtable summary. Feb 2015
Sea Change. Summary of Biodiversity and Biosecurity roundtable discussions and outcomes. Given to Stakeholder Working Group. February 2015.
Report. Sea Change Aquaculture roundtable summary. Feb 2015
Sea Change. Summary of Aquaculture roundtable discussions and outcomes. Given to Stakeholder Working Group. February 2015.
Sea Change. Summary of Water quality roundtable discussions. Feb 2015
Summary of Water quality roundtable discussions and outcomes. Given to Stakeholder Working Group. February 2015
Hauraki Gulf population report. Stats NZ. Dec 2014
Report. Hauraki Gulf population growth 2014 and beyond. Stats NZ. 4 December 2014.
Sea Change Fisheries meeting report. NZSFC. 4 Dec 2014
Report on the last meeting of the Sea Change Fisheries roundtable. NZSFC. 3-4 December 2014.
Sea Change Fisheries meeting report. NZSFC. 5 Nov 2014
Report on the 6th Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 5 November 2014.
Hauraki Gulf marine park. Media release. Nick Smith. 7 Sep 2014
National promises to create 2 recreational fishing parks, one in Hauraki Gulf. Media release. Nick Smith. 7 Sept 2014.
Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting report. NZSFC. 13 Oct 2014
Report on the 5th Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 13 October 2014.
Hauraki Gulf bottom longlining vessels report. CSIRO. Sept 2014
Final report for MPI on bottom longline vessels operating in the Hauraki Gulf. CSIRO. September 2014.
Hauraki Gulf. State of the Environment report. HGF. 30 Sep 2014
Report. The natural assets of the Hauraki Gulf continue to decline and bold steps are required to improve management. Hauraki Gulf Forum. 30 September 2014.
Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting report. NZSFC. 24 Sep 2014
Report on the 4th Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting. NZSFC. Report 2 Oct 2014.
Report. Commercial catches from Firth of Thames 2008-12. MPI. 16 Sep 2014
Summary of commercial catches from Firth of Thames 2008-12. MPI. 16 Sep 2014.
Presentation Ecosystem services in the Hauraki Gulf. NIWA. 1 Sep 2014
Presentation: Ecosystem services for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. NIWA. 1 Sep 2014.
Report. Sea Change fisheries roundtable meeting. 1 Sep 2014
Report on the 3rd Fisheries roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 1 Sep 2014.
Report. Sea Change biodiversity roundtable meeting. 23 July 2014
Report on the 2nd Sea Change Biodiversity & Biosecurity roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 23 July 2014
Report. Sea Change biodiversity roundtable meeting. 4 July 2014
Report on the Sea Change Biodiversity & Biosecurity roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 4 July 2014
Report. Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting. June 2014
Report on the Sea Change Fisheries Roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 26 June 2014.
Report. Sea Change Fisheries roundtable meeting. May 2014
Report on the Sea Change Fisheries Roundtable meeting. NZSFC. 26 May 2014.
Report. HG Spatial plan selection process. Fisheries Inshore NZ. Oct 2013
Report on the interesting process to select stakeholder reps on the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan working group. Fisheries Inshore NZ. 18 Oct 2013.
Report. Economic valuation of the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland Council. Nov 2012
Economic valuation of the Hauraki Gulf. A stocktake of activities and opportunities. Auckland Council. November 2012.
Report. Hauraki Gulf recreational fishery. BWMR. Aug 2012
Presentation to the Hauraki Gulf Forum: A recreational view of the Hauraki Gulf’s fishery. Blue Water Marine Research. 22 August 2012.
Report. Fisheries management presentation. Commercial. Dec 2011
Fisheries management presentation to the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Northern Inshore Fisheries Company. 12 Dec 2011.
Hauraki Gulf. Fisheries management presentation. MFish. Dec 2011
Fisheries management presentation to the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Ministry of Fisheries. 12 Dec 2011
Draft Auckland Plan
Report. Presentation on Draft Auckland Plan. NZSFC. Nov 2011
Presentation to the Hauraki Gulf Forum in response to the Draft Auckland Plan. NZSFC Nov 2011.
Map. Proposed MPAs Draft Auckland Plan. Oct 2011
Proposed marine protected areas map, Draft Auckland Plan. Oct 2011.
Submission. Draft Auckland Plan. NZSFC. 31 Oct 2011
Submission in response to the Draft Auckland Plan and proposed marine protected areas (MPAs). NZSFC. 31 October 2011.
Hauraki Gulf. Article. Is the Gulf a toxic paradise? NZ Herald. Aug 2011
Isaac Davison reports on the outcomes reported in the latest Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment report. NZ Herald. 11 August 2011.
HGF. Speech to Hauraki Gulf Forum. NZSFC. Aug 2011
NZSFC presentation to the Hauraki Gulf Forum highlighting the public’s values and interests in enhancing the health of the marine environment while enjoying responsible fishing. Scott Macindoe speech. 9 August 2011.
Hauraki Gulf. Forum response letter to NZSFC. Jun 2011
Hauraki Gulf Forum respond to enquiry about fisheries management changes since the kahawai Supreme Court decision. Fisheries plans are being developed to clarify management objectives and performance measures. 8 June 2011.
Hauraki Gulf. NZSFC letter to Forum. Mar 2011
Recreational fishers ask the Hauraki Gulf Forum to clarify with the Minister of Fisheries how he intends to change management of species of unknown status within the Gulf due to the 2010 Supreme Court decision for kahawai. 24 March 2011.
Report. Fishing the Gulf. Hauraki Gulf Forum. 2010
Report. Fishing the Gulf. Implementing the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act through fisheries managment. Hauraki Gulf Forum. 2010.
Hauraki Gulf. State of the Environment report. June 2008
Commercial fishing within the Hauraki Gulf is taking around 6800 tonnes of fish (all species) per year, of that around 2000 tonnes is snapper. Hauraki Gulf Forum report. June 2008.
Hauraki Gulf. State of the Environment report. HG Forum. 2004
Tikapa Moana – Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment report. Snapper in the Gulf and Bay of Plenty reached a low point between 1985 & 1995. Reductions in catch limits have contributed to a rebuild. Hauraki Gulf Forum. 2004.
Auckland Conservation Board. option 4. 2003 to 2004
A record of interaction with the Auckland Conservation Board discussing marine protection and fisheries management in the Hauraki Gulf and regional waters. 2003 to 2004. Historical record on the option4 website.
Hauraki Gulf Forum. option 4 website. 2003.
A record of process and interaction with the Hauraki Gulf Forum in regards to marine protection initiatives in the Gulf. June to December 2003. Historical record on the option4 website.
Hauraki Gulf. Kaharoa trawl survey report. Sep 2002
Hauraki Gulf Kaharoa all species trawl survey. Very few gurnard caught, total estimated biomass of gurnard only 24 tonnes within the whole Hauraki Gulf. NIWA. September 2002.