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Tawharanui at last a marine reserve


Date Posted: 02 Sep 2011 | 6 Comments

The long time marine park at Tawharanui has been formally opened as New Zealand’s newest marine reserve this August.

On 28th August 2011 about 150 people witnessed the final chapter in protection for the marine life on the northern side of Tawharanui Regional Park.  The Marine Park set up under Fisheries Regulations and the Harbours Act in 1981, was finally changed to a Marine Reserve under the Marine Reserves Act.

Hopefully the fish and crayfish will not notice a thing.  They have been protected since 1981, and will continue to be fully protected in the Marine Reserve, but with perhaps a little more security of tenure.

Technically the fisheries regulations could have been changed relatively quickly and easily, and a “rogue” Minister of Fisheries could have opened up the Park to fishing.  But in a Marine Reserve the protection offered is more secure, the protection effectively being “in perpetuity”. 

This is great for the marine life, as studies have shown that the longer protection is in place the more valuable the area becomes as a haven for marine life, as a breeding stock for species heavily fished elsewhere, as an example of a fully recovered ecosystem, and as an amazing place to go and see what our seas were like before heavy fishing pressure drastically changed the appearance and content of our coastal waters.

The ceremony at Anchor Bay included a welcome and comments from the local Tangata Whenua Ngati Manuhiri, and comments from the Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson, who later unveiled a bronze plaque on a rock at Anchor Bay.  The plaque depicts a large snapper, now common in the shallow waters of the Reserve, and the flowers of the kiekie, a climbing plant common in the native forest remnants on the Regional Park.

After the ceremonies and afternoon tea, my mate Vince from Northland donned his wetsuit and snorkel gear and paddled out from Anchor Bay to groove with the big snapper and crayfish on Phoenix Reef.  Unfortunately the water was a bit cold for me, otherwise I would have raced him to be the first person to snorkel in the new marine reserve!  But that is a privilege that nobody can now take away from him!  That was his personal unique experience.

Posted in: New Zealand News

Comments about this article

It’s really good that now anyone can visit marine park at Tawharanui. Interesting to visit and good for everyone.
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This file has a .pdf extension Document Icon Tawharanui Marine Reserve Proposal Discussion Document

This report presents the Committee with an update on work relating to an existing resolution on the Tawharanui Marine Reserve proposal, to present the Committee with options for progressing the application and to seek endorsement for a preferred option. This report briefly discusses: the background to the existing Tawharanui Marine Park; the values of the Tawharanui Marine Park; the reasons for applying for marine reserve status; actions to date (including consultation with key stakeholders and the public); possible expansion of the area to be covered by the marine reserve (that is
not covered by the marine park); process for establishing a marine reserve and the possible costs; options for progressing an application; and a potential timeframe.

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