Council backs Draft Hauraki Fisheries Plan

Photo: MPI.

Waikato Regional Council is backing New Zealand's first proposed area-based fisheries plan.

The council's submission on Fisheries New Zealand's Draft Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan supports the move towards an ecosystem-based fisheries management approach, noting it as a holistic approach that recognises all the interactions within an ecosystem rather than considering single species or issues in isolation.

Fisheries NZ is consulting on the draft plan which sets out long-term outcomes to guide the management of fisheries in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park for the next five years, the council heard at its March meeting of the Strategy and Policy Committee.

While the council's submission expresses overall support for the plan, it also recognises that it is constrained by the Fisheries Act 1996 and further engagement and coordination with agencies and stakeholders will be needed to address further biodiversity and environmental protection in the Hauraki Gulf.

The council's submission recommends that the draft plan should provide for a better connection between fisheries management outcomes and marine biosecurity activities and that it should consider the impacts of climate change throughout the whole plan.

"The Hauraki Gulf is one of the country's most valued and intensively used coastal spaces and there are many overlapping roles and responsibilities in regard to fisheries management and marine conservation," says committee chair Warren Maher.

"The draft plan puts in place some steps that the government will have to look at to recognise biodiversity and economic systems."

Councillors emphasised the need to be involved in future discussions regarding trawl corridors recognised in the plan to understand the extent of impact on the benthic environment, effects on other species and overall health of marine ecosystems.

"We support engagement with tangata whenua, the wider community and all stakeholders to participate in any process concerning fisheries in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park."

The council's submission recognises the partnership between the Crown and tangata whenua in the management of fisheries and acknowledges the importance of fisheries for tangata whenua.

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