The release of a proposed new spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park has been welcomed by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.
The Sea Change/Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial plan, designed to secure a healthy, productive and sustainable future for the Hauraki Gulf, is the result of three years’ work by the Sea Change group, representing mana whenua, councils, local conservationists, businesses, recreational fishers and the Government.
Dr Smith says the Government will establish a process to formally consider the plan, before developing and consulting on recommendations on how to implement it.
“We are keen to work with all those with interests in the Hauraki Gulf and intend to talk to them early in the New Year about how they will be involved to ensure the ongoing success of the Sea Change process.”
Mr Guy says the plan is an aspirational, non-binding and non-statutory document and, as such, will need to be carefully considered.
“It will be particularly important to weigh up recommendations that could impact the rights and interests of stakeholders and industry. This is a shared fishery of great importance to recreational, commercial and customary fishers.
“I want to acknowledge the Sea Change group for their passion for the Hauraki Gulf.”
Ms Barry says the plan is a significant first step toward restoring a healthy and abundant Hauraki Gulf, and is a comprehensive response to the environmental challenges it faces.
“I’m pleased the plan proposes to enhance the biodiversity of the Gulf by restoring and protecting habitats, including through 14 new proposed marine protected areas.
“The plan sets a platform for positive change in the marine environment and the Government will give it full consideration.”