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MPA DOC update 2009

Northland Conservancy MPA Work Update
August 17th, 2009

This is a program update to keep you all informed of the work going on by Conservancy staff in marine conservation.

First some comments on the state of play of MPA process as it relates to Northland.

Due to budget constraints Ministers announced recently that no new MPA forum processes will be initiated in the North Island this year. Also the Director General of DOC has commented publically recently:
Wellington, July 2 NZPA       "This Government has signalled that it doesn't think that the Department should be both applicant and decision maker over marine reserves and I would expect, consistent with that policy, that marine reserves will be applied for by third parties and the Department will be the processor of those. I would expect consistent with that policy we would not be the applicants for marine reserves, that others would be and we would process them," Mr Morrison said.
Where does this leave the Northland and the path to a network of marine protected areas?
Many will be disappointed that there will be no government initiated MPA forum for Northland in the near future, but this is now the reality and I suggest it is vital to be positive about what is possible and how this can work for Northland. We must be clear that there is nothing wrong with a community lead approach to MPA planning and implementation and that in a nutshell is our current situation. This model both here and overseas has produced results in the past.
Our Commitment

Northland Conservancy is actively pursuing a work program of gathering technical information to support marine planning and will continue to work in support of community based marine protection initiatives. Nothing has changed in regard of our responsibility to Biodiversity Strategy objectives and our advocacy for marine conservation as stated in the Conservation Act. We are committed to actively supporting our community efforts here in Northland. In relation to our Sec 4 Conservation Act responsibilities we can also engage in supporting Hapu and Iwi's objectives of developing customary management especially where conservation outcomes are part of the plans.
Here is a suggested list of what communities can do in the current circumstances.
The Community CAN DO LIST

1. All provisions in the Marine Reserves Act which enable an independent body to apply for a Marine Reserve still apply.
2. Local Fisheries objectives can be pursued under the various options available in the Fisheries Act - nothing has changed in this regard.
3. Local communities can argue and make a case that their specific marine management proposals at a community scale or Northland scale will fit, satisfy and compliment what us written in the Biodiversity Strategy and the current version of the MPA Policy.
4. Local communities in Northland could come together via their own initiative to share ideas and resources and effectively run their own sub-forum for Northland. If successful this process could lead to recommendations to Government on implementation of Marine Protected Areas, specific applications or special legislation. The process would decide what scale these recommendations were on i.e. local community or Northland or other.
Next Steps

The Northland Conservancy marine team in association with our DOC Area teams is now planning the release of new information on marine habitats in Northland that is very visual and comprehensive. This map based resource is designed to assist people to engage in marine planning for their areas. We also have updated monitoring information that we are preparing to release. This process for us will begin prior to the Xmas season.
For questions regarding this work please contact Vince Kerr at the Conservancy Office, Whangarei or your local DOC Area Biodiversity Assets staff.
Cheers     Vince Kerr  August 2009 Sponsors