Prime fishing areas in the Bay of Plenty have been targeted for closure and LegaSea along with local fishers are pushing back. The closures of some reefs and islands in the area around Motiti are supported by Court decisions, although subject to appeal.
The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council has registered as an “interested party” with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in respect to any resource consent applications or planning processes within the coastal marine area of the Bay of Plenty that may affect recreational fishing interests.
This is in response to the High Court decision that is still under appeal, acknowledging that Councils can use their powers under the Resource Management Act to protect or manage indigenous biodiversity in the coastal marine zone out to 12 nautical miles, in the Territorial Sea.
The overlap between the Resource Management Act and Fisheries Act provisions is not yet clear. The outcome of the appeal process ought to give us more clarity. Meantime, we have to gear up and be prepared to participate in the BOP Council’s processes.
Local NZ Sport Fishing Council representatives will engage as required to provide constructive feedback on any proposals that may impact on recreational fishing interests.
The NZSFC has also requested a position on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Scientific Advisory Group that is scoping out the baseline and ongoing monitoring requirements to meet the conditions specified in a related Environment Court decision.
Public access and the ability to fish in our marine environment is essential for our collective wellbeing. Any proposals for closures must be widely consulted and generate meaningful discussion if they are to get public buy-in. So far this process doesn’t meet these criteria.