Northland Marine Habitat Maps and Report
The marine technical team at Northland Conservancy has completed a marine habitat map for the Northland section of the Northeast Marine Bioregion. The maps cover an area of 1.34 million hectares extending out 12 nautical miles from the coast between Ahipara in the west to Mangawhai on the east coast.
Rocky reefs make up 14.3% of the mapped area, indicating the presence of a significant array of these habitats. Estuarine areas make up 3.3% of the mapping area and include internationally significant tidal flats, Zostera capricorni seagrass beds and the Avicennia marina mangrove areas of Parengarenga and Rangaunu Harbours.
The use of the habitat maps to identify potential locations for a network of marine protected areas in Northland is discussed and recommendations are made to incorporate this information within decision support tools to assist in planning, education and community engagement. The habitat maps, underlying data and techniques developed also provide a valuable resource for other research and management projects in Northland and elsewhere.