It may come as a shock that the ocean is not a closed ecosystem. Fish don’t know boundaries, only we humans do. And, fish don’t stay in one place because it’s a marine reserve, they are born to migrate.
If we want to improve biodiversity by increasing fish abundance then we have to think beyond just marine protected areas and encompass fisheries management.
The Marine Protection Bill before the government enables the implementation of 19 marine protected areas in the Hauraki Gulf. Up until November 1st you have the opportunity to comment on the proposals. LegaSea is already working with other organisations to promote an alternative, empowering proposal called Ahu Moana.
Ahu Moana incorporates communal and iwi aspirations, allowing for continued use of an area with controls to suit local conditions. It can involve combining local knowledge and scientific data to create a tailored solution for an area.
To restore fish populations, marine protection and fisheries management controls must be applied together. Otherwise, we’re merely shifting excess fishing to our neighbour’s waters, causing them grief.
We need public pressure to show officials our communities want purposeful restoration of the life and waters of the Hauraki Gulf. If you are concerned about the inadequate proposals to manage our moana, write a submission to the Environment Select Committee before November 1 and tell them you want effective protection and fisheries management, including Ahu Moana for our communities.