ARC Wants Marine Reserve Status For Tawharanui
The Auckland Regional Council Parks and Recreation committee voted today to endorse an application to the Director General of Conservation for marine reserve status at Tawharanui Marine Park
Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Bill Burrill says the ARC has considered the move before but now is definitely the right time to make the change because the government’s biodiversity strategy has recently provided the Department of Conservation with additional funding for the management of marine reserves.
“Tawharanui’s current status as a marine park is confusing to the public and the area’s marine life has not progressed as well as was expected,” he says.
“There are four different marine parks in New Zealand each with its own distinct specifications and regulations. Tawharanui is the only one in which no fishing is permitted he but the marine park label doesn’t convey that to the public.”
“The marine reserve concept is generally much more widely understood and respected.”
Cr Burrill says as a marine reserve the area would be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation which now has considerably more resources available for this than the Ministry of Fisheries which is charged with enforcing the current marine park regulations and is struggling to do so effectively.
The change to a marine reserve would also see the “straight-lining” of boundaries making the protected area slightly larger but giving the public more certainty.
The Marine Reserves Act is currently under review by the government and in its submission on the review, the ARC has strongly recommended that marine reserves maintain their “no take” status.
“Making Tawharanui a marine reserve will lead to better management, better understanding from the public and ultimately greater protection for existing marine life and an increase in biodiversity which were the original aims when the area was singled out for special status,” Cr Burrill says.
“This is the next logical step for the ARC following the decision to proceed with plans for a predator free mainland island at Tawharanui Regional Park.
“Tawharanui Peninsula would be unique as the only site in New Zealand where a mainland island borders a marine reserve.”
Cr Burrill says the ARC has already received support for the initiative from a number of affected parties and he welcomes the opportunity to discuss the issue further with the public prior to the application being lodged.
For further information please call:
Cr Bill Burrill,
Phone 366-2000 ext 8179,
Mobile 021 978 139
Phone 366-2000 ext 8100
Mobile 021 656 380.