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Maunganui Bay closed for further two years

23 November 2012

Maunganui Bay closed for further two years

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today announced that Maunganui Bay will be closed to fishing for all species except kina for a further two years.

Maunganui Bay, on the Cape Brett Peninsula in the Bay of Islands, was first closed to all fishing except kina on 1 December 2010 for a two-year period. Ngati Kuta and Patukeha ki Te Rawhiti, the two resident hapü, have requested a further closure as they consider that more time is required to allow depleted stocks in Maunganui Bay to continue rebuilding.

The two hapü have maintained a traditional rähui (closure) over Maunganui Bay since March 2009, due to their concern about the depletion of fish stocks. The further closure provides ongoing statutory support for the traditional rähui.

Temporary closures in the North Island are established under section 186A of the Fisheries Act 1996 at the request of local tangata whenua. They can be put in place if the closure will improve the availability and/or size of fisheries resources in the area, or recognise a customary fishing practice in that area.

David Scranney, Spatial Allocations Manager at MPI, says kina has been excluded from the temporary closure because the available information shows they are abundant in Maunganui Bay.

Spokesperson for the two hapü, Robert Willoughby, says that they are encouraged by the widespread support from the local community for this initiative, which shows the positive outcome that can be achieved when communities work together.

“Maunganui Bay has always been an important customary fishing area for our people. We consider that this further temporary closure will assist with regeneration of fish stocks in the area, not only for customary purposes but also for the benefit of the wider community. It will be especially helpful to species that are continuing to establish around the artificial reef formed by scuttling the ex-frigate Waitaha/Canterbury in the Bay in 2007,” Robert Willoughby says.

Maunganui Bay will remain closed until 30 November 2014 to the take of all fish, aquatic life and seaweed, except kina.

Fishery officers will continue to patrol and enforce the temporary closure. Fines up to a maximum of $100,000 apply to anybody caught breaching it. Members of the public are encouraged to call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) if they see anything suspicious at Maunganui Bay, or elsewhere.


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