FEATURE

Conservationists come out to show support

The 2019 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Conference

 

FEATURE

The essence of Hauturu captured in newly released book

A newly released book captures the significance of Hauturu Little Barrier Island and the ecological identity of this wonderful natural reserve.

 

FEATURE

Call to action as sediment threatens giant Kokopu

Conservationists are calling for continued action amid the increasing impact sediment is having on giant kokopu, one of Auckland’s rarest whitebait species.

 

FEATURE

Recreational fishing highlighted in survey

A Fisheries New Zealand national survey of recreational fishing has confirmed the ongoing importance of recreational fishing.

NEWS

New partnership to aid rodent control

A partnership between Auckland Council, adhesives company Selleys, and peanut butter producers Nut Brothers is deploying 22,000 rat bait blocks and 160kg of peanut butter. The Talon wax blocks will be used in continuing trapping efforts on the Hauraki Gulf Islands and in remote rural areas as part of the Pest Free Auckland Programme:
According to Brett Butland, Auckland Council’s Pest Free Auckland Director, an unusually high seeding led to a wealth of food for native species. This has also fueled high populations of pests such as rats and stoats. These pests pose a serious threat to native wildlife as predator populations build up during the spring and summer months.
“We want to stay ahead of the game and ensure our predator free islands remain that way.”
“We know that rats prefer organic oils – like the ones contained in peanut butter – and they’re more likely to draw the pests to the bait stations. The rat bait and peanut butter work really well together.”

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Have your say on improving the health of our waterways

The Ministry for the Environment has launched consultations on improving management of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes: “Action for Healthy Waterways: A Discussion Document on National Direction for our Essential Freshwater”.
As the discussion document notes our fresh water is suffering as a result of human activity, primarily from urban development, agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Urgent action is required to stop an already bad situation getting worse. Proposed action includes: better management of stormwater and wastewater no further loss of wetlands and streams tighter controls to prevent sediment loss from earthworks and urban development farmers and growers understanding and managing environmental risks and following good practice new standards and limits on some farming activities in some regions or catchments.
Beyond those proposals the Government is also working on other parts of its plan for freshwater, including allocation of allowances to discharge nutrients, institutional/oversight arrangements for the freshwater management system, and addressing Māori rights and interests in freshwater.
It is important that you have your say on these landmark reforms. Submissions will be accepted until 31 October 2019.

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World Heritage Site status offers protection to native birds

The Government made its intention clear with the announcement to protect a flight path of a species of native birds who frequent the Thames coast before flying to the Arctic.

The announcement, which was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, signals that the Yellow Sea is now classified as a World Heritage site.

The Red Knots and Godwits fly from the Firth of Thames to their breeding ground every year which is a 12,000km journey.

Red knots breed in Siberia, while the godwits breed in Alaska. Both the red knots and godwits land at wetlands in China to refuel, before flying on to their breeding sites.

However, due to the mudflats around the Yellow Sea being destroyed by development, there has been a decline in shorebirds numbers.

“This recognises the importance of retaining mudflats,” Sage said.

“We’ve seen the loss of about two thirds of mudflats in that area, but now China is committing to their protection.

“It’s really great news for godwits and knots and it makes their journey a bit safer.”

The specific sites the birds use will be part of a Yellow Sea World Heritage proposal to be developed by China with support from other partners in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory birds extends from Awarua Bay in the south of New Zealand and crosses China on its way to the North Slope in Alaska.

“Equally important is the work being done on this side of the Pacific. The recent acquisition of the Robert Findlay Reserve at Miranda was a significant local contribution to the conservation of migratory shorebird habitat in New Zealand,” Sage said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was part of an international community that had a duty of care, and also commended the work done by volunteers and supporters of the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.

“You are creating an environment where the next generation will feel motivated to continue the conservation work that you’re doing, not just here but globally.

“You have my word that when I get the opportunity, I am happy to continue the diplomacy you’ve been undertaking.

“If it’s not to advocate for our people but to also act as guardians and demonstrate kaitiakitanga to the birdlife that call New Zealand part of their migratory routes.”

Centre manager Keith Woodley said the profile of the country’s shorebirds needed to be raised and likened their voyage to humans doubling their weight and running a marathon.

“That’s essentially what these birds are doing,” he said.

“They double their weight and they go on this huge endurance flight. Of course, we couldn’t do it, but they are superbly equipped and adapted to doing it.”

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Ghost fishing removes ocean trash

“In the 1980s I helped my Grandfather sink his old freezer in the harbour. It was a fun outing and a good challenge, afterwards I wondered what might inhabit the new white cave on the seafloor. Now days we all know better and I hate to think what toxic chemicals leaked out of that old machine and poisoned the bay,” anonymous New Zealander

A recent Ghost Fishing New Zealand event was held in Okahu Bay to help clean up the seafloor. The detrimental effects of lost fishing gear and rubbish was documented through video and photography.

Over the last four years, Ghost Fishing New Zealand (GFNZ) has worked diligently in cleaning open water spaces. These divers were inspired by overseas divers and named themselves after the ghost nets lost by commercial fishers that they retrieve. The team often pull tonnes of rubbish up from the deep in just a few hours using lift bags.

A station is set up at the event dedicated to sifting through the collection to extract mobile marine life from the rubbish.

“My job was to photograph the species as they were being removed by volunteers under the supervision of marine biologist Eddie van Halen Howard. Adults and children alike crowded around each piece of trash as it came ashore and Eddie enthusiastically identified and told stories about each animal,” – Shaun Lee

The highlight has to be this rarely seen Porcelain Crab (Petrocheles spinosus). It seems to be the first photograph of its species in the wild, though in this case the habitat had been moved.”

If you would like more information about Ghost Fishing NZ, please visit them here or better yet follow them on Facebook.

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