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BOP Regional Coastal Environment Plan - Marine Spatial Planning

Bay of Plenty residents and recreational fishers in particular are raising strong objections to the pending closure of the three largest reef structures surrounding Motiti Island.

Bob Gutsell, President of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, says his Council and LegaSea supporters are extremely disappointed.

“It just doesn’t seem right that the public can be denied fishing access to such a wide area. We’re talking an area of around 63 square kilometres that has been closed arbitrarily, without public consultation. This decision is concerning for our local members and every Bay of Plenty ratepayer.”

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and LegaSea are convinced this is yet another failure of the Fisheries and Resource Management Acts.

“This closure represents nothing more than a band aid on the gaping wound of decades of poor fisheries management practices around New Zealand. While fish stocks have been decimated by slow, inadequate management, special interest groups are clutching at straws to use the RMA for purposes it was not designed for”, says Papamoa resident Vance Fulton.

“The Court’s decision now requires Regional Councils to implement management practices for which they have neither the resources or management skills and experience. In essence, ratepayers lose fishing access while footing the bill for the management of those areas. That’s not fair.”

LegaSea spokesperson Sam Woolford said it was important that Kiwis retained access to fish to feed their families. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted food security issues for thousands of people. It was concerning that closing such a large swathe of water would put increased pressure on surrounding areas.

“The closures are a blunt instrument that provide for all-or-nothing controls without addressing the root cause of the problems that result from depleted fish stocks. We need to square up to the real issues of depletion, bottom trawling and the loss of marine biodiversity due to the bulk harvesting of inshore Bay of Plenty waters”.

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council and LegaSea call on the Government to close the loopholes in the RMA. The groups say the Government must take action to ensure that fish stocks are replenished and so that all Kiwis families can enjoy unrestricted access to New Zealand’s coastline.

ORIGINAL

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council & LegaSea are extremely disappointed that the Environment Court has confirmed closure of the three largest reef structures surrounding Motiti Island. That such a dramatic change in fishing access across such a wide area (approx. 63 km2) could be arbitrarily made by a court without public consultation is yet another failure of the Fisheries and Resource Management Acts.

This closure represents nothing more than a band aid on the gaping wound of decades of poor fisheries management practices around New Zealand. While fish stocks around New Zealand have been decimated by slow unreactive management practices, special interest groups are clutching at straws to use the RMA for purposes it was not designed for. Requiring Regional Councils to implement management practices for which they have neither the resources or management skills and experience. In essence, rate payers lose access to their fishing areas and end up footing the bill for the management of these areas through the rates they pay.

Rather than creating idealised oases of protected habitat for species to flourish and return to abundance, the closures will just place increased pressure on surrounding areas. They are a blunt instrument, that provide all or nothing controls, without addressing the root cause of the problems that result from depleted fish stocks.

The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council & LegaSea call on the Government to close this loophole in the RMA and take action to ensure that fish stocks are replenished to an abundance to be enjoyed by all New Zealanders with unrestricted access to all of New Zealand’s coastline.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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