29 March 2022
The Minister for Oceans and Fisheries’ decisions announced today on measures to allow depleted scallop fisheries in Northland and Hauraki Gulf/Coromandel the chance to recover are highly anticipated by the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Northland is now fully closed. But the Hauraki Gulf scallop fishery will only be partially closed. This puts Hauturu/Little Barrier and Aotea Great Barrier at risk.
“The decision today by the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries to leave open two areas of the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ō-Toi to commercial and recreational dredging – one around the west and south of Hauturu-ō-Toi/Little Barrier, and one off the west coast of Aotea Great Barrier – is very concerning” says Forum Co-Chair Pippa Coom. “These are two of our most beautiful islands, with Hauturu one of the most protected places on the planet. It makes no sense for the health of the Gulf, and the health of our communities, to have the seafloor around such treasured whenua being dredged.”
“Worse still” says Forum Co-Chair Tangata Whenua Nicola MacDonald “both of the areas the Minister has chosen to leave open to dredging are covered by tikanga rāhui laid down on Waitangi Day this year, and a formal s186a Fisheries Act application for a temporary closure. The decision today diminishes the mana of the iwi, hapū, whānau, communities and all those involved in supporting the rāhui. The Minister should reconsider this aspect of the decision, and/or confirm the temporary closure application.”
“More broadly” says Forum Co-Chair Pippa Coom “the Forum welcomes the decisions by the Minister to largely close the Hauraki Gulf scallop fishery. The scallop population in the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ō-Toi has collapsed. This necessary action by the Minister will protect around 95% of the Hauraki Gulf from damaging scallop dredging for the immediate future while a solution is found to transition the industry to hand-gathering. This is the beginning of the end for dredging in the Gulf. The Forum will continue to advocate for a completely dredge-free future.”
By Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chairs Pippa Coom and Nicola MacDonald
*Co-Chair Nicola MacDonald declares an interest in this release with respect to her other pōtae as CE of Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust