Strong reef protection a united front

May 22, 2023

A new artificial reef off Napier Port is set to become a flourishing environment thanks to the collaboration between mana whenua, LegaSea Hawkes Bay, Port of Napier, and the community.

This collaboration has already produced two other artificial reefs in Hawke’s Bay, one north of Pania Reef and another at a shipwreck site. After only three years, life is already flourishing – a range of species can be found including crayfish, blue cod, and a variety of sponges.

In January 2023, Mana Whenua Trust sought Ministerial approval for a 2-year temporary closure to all fishing around the new reef, close to Napier Port. The objective is to allow habitat growth.

The reef monitoring and enhancement programme includes a survey at the start, to establish a baseline of the local ecology. Ongoing monitoring will inform everyone if the enhancement is effective.

Enhancement of the reef will include creating spat ropes out of woven cabbage tree leaves to support the rapid growth of important habitat species such as kelp and green-lipped mussels, whose spat linger in the area.

In February LegaSea worked alongside our Hawkes Bay team, NZ Sport Fishing Council, NZ Angling & Casting Association, and NZ Underwater to submit in support of the temporary closure application.

This collaboration is a prime example of the Ahu Moana concept. That is, creating a positive environment where mana whenua, fishers, and the community work together to enable the restoration of the marine habitat and biodiversity. This is the community investing in the future and supporting more fish in the water. Ka pai.