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Call for more marine protection around Auckland

Forest & Bird calls for more marine protection around Auckland

Forest & Bird is calling on Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to create more marine reserves around Auckland’s coasts.

Ms Sage has signalled she will discuss current national and Auckland environmental issues, including the need for more marine reserves in the Auckland region, when she talks at the Waitakere branch of Forest & Bird on 15 August.

The Hauraki Gulf is in a tragic state after decades of over-fishing and degradation, so marine reserves are urgently needed, says Forest & Bird Auckland regional manager Nick Beveridge.

“More than half the marine life in the Hauraki Gulf has disappeared since 1925 - we can’t afford to keep fishing in this unsustainable way.

“Snapper numbers are about 17 percent of what they were 94 years ago and crayfish numbers have fallen by about 80 percent, so that crayfish are now functionally extinct in the gulf.

“We need to make sure we’re not pushing some fish species to the point of local extinction, along with the seabirds, dolphins and whales that feed on them,” says Mr Beveridge.

Rare Māui dolphins live on Auckland’s west coast, yet there are no marine reserves on that coast from Cape Reinga until you reach Taranaki, he says.

“Only about 63 Māui dolphins are left in the world and the mouth of the Manukau Harbour is one of the places they are most often seen.

“Creating marine reserves along the west coast would ensure these rare dolphins don’t get killed in fishing nets, while also boosting their food stocks,” says Mr Beveridge.

At the talk on August 15, Ms Sage plans to give an overview of the government’s conservation policies.

Topics could include predator control, kauri dieback disease and developing a policy on indigenous biodiversity.

Ms Sage will be returning to her roots by attending the meeting - she grew up in Auckland, worked for Forest & Bird for 13 years, and was made a Distinguished Life Member of the conservation organisation.

People will have a chance to ask their burning questions at the end of Ms Sage’s talk.

All are welcome to attend the event at Kelston Community Centre, 135 Awaroa Road, on August 15 at 7.30pm. Entry by koha.


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