Our Living Sea Marine Plan

  • We want a Doubtless Bay/ Tokerau Living Sea Marine Plan enacted as soon as possible for the whole marine ecosystem. A healthy thriving ecosystem that we are proud of; incorporating local management, marine reserves, a voluntary fishing code, Maori traditional and legislative tools such as Rahui (like 186 closures) at certain periods, e.g fish spawning seasons, Tapu (like Marine Reserve), Mataitai and Taiapure and of course clean waterways.

    Fiordland Marine Guardians worked like this and then had separate legislation passed to enact their reserve. www.fmg.org.nz

    Our Discussion Document in late 2008 summarised the 5 key issues and a range of options for our marine environment.

  • We need local management now in Doubtless Bay/ Tokerau. We are currently just part of a Ministry of Fisheries area which can cover from North Cape to East Cape. The community that live here care about the local marine environment and how it is managed and we are consistently asked when will something happen?

  • Monitoring of Mataitai, local reserves, fishing codes, and Rahui will largely be done by locals. They will only be respected if the whole community understands and supports them.

  • Everyone has to give something up now to gain much more for our future.

Future Management Needs Good Information

  • Natural marine environments set aside in reserves or designated tapu are crucial. Informed and effective management of Doubtless Bay/ Tokerau depends on having good baseline data from fully protected areas such as marine reserves.

  • We want our local young people to experience an untouched marine environment here. Presently, they have to travel 4 hours away out of the Far North, to Goat Island Marine Reserve at Leigh (Cape Rodney/ Okakari Point) or offshore to the Poor Knights (Tawhiti Rahi & Aorangi) Islands.

  • A voluntary fishing code seems to be acceptable to much of our local recreational fishers. Reserves and rahui tapu will help with these management decisions

    • bigger size limits on fish
    • only taking one trophy fish each time
    • throwing the big breeders back
    • spawning season closure for a month before christmas each year
    • using larger sized hooks

Supporting Maori

  • We acknowledge that the hapu of Ngati Kahu have mana moana, and we wish to work alongside them in creating a thriving marine ecosystem locally that is managed in a workable and sustainable way.

  • Interest has been shown by members of three Ngati Kahu hapu in protecting and reserving some of their marine environment. We wish to actively support them. Hapu managed areas next to marine reserves could be a good solution in our Bay. We recognise the Rahui Tapu Ahipara by Te Rarawa hapu as a good example locally of traditional customary environmental management.

  • Our Whakahau from 24 May 2010 moved unanimously by all present as our statement to local hapu: “We support hapu with their marine protection initiatives for Doubtless Bay/ Tokerau. Our group is working towards a Marine Plan for our Bay that includes marine reserves, voluntary fishing code, and support for maori traditional and legislative tools such as Rahui, Mataitai and Taiapure”.

  • We realise that with 13 Ngati Kahu marae, Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngati Kahu and the many hapu that our volunteer group could always communicate better. We have genuinely tried and wish to continue to do so.

  • From our survey 90% of locals felt Maori and Pakeha should work together better on behalf of the marine environment.

  • We acknowledge that Ngati Kahu are busy negotiating a settlement with government, as well as Seabed and Foreshore issues.

Lets get on with it now

  • There is a sense of urgency now. Our survey showed that 73% of respondents had noted a decline in our local marine environment.

  • World-wide, fisheries and the marine ecosystem are under extreme pressure and reaching tipping point. The whole ocean is harvested to great depths. In the old days the wider ocean offshore was effectively a marine reserve. Kina barrens continue to grow in our Bay. Our group has been going since 2003 and we have done much foundational work towards a Marine Plan.

  • If we don’t act now, future generations will not be able to experience what our grandparents did. Experiences in fully protected reserves show that it takes 10 to 20 years for a more fully functioning marine ecosystem to develop. Only those over 60 years old could have had a true experience of what our Bay was once like.

  • Local records show we no longer see the abundance of paua, scallops, crayfish and packhorse crays, hapuka, schools of spawning snapper up estuaries, sharks, kingfish, big flounder, schools of mullet up rivers

We love Marine Reserves

  • We support 10% of our Bay being no-take reserves, this leaving 90% in better condition and open to harvest. We feel this will support the ecological, cultural, social, educational, fishing opportunities and long term sustainability of our Bay.

  • Our survey showed that 80% of locals wanted marine reserves with most feeling 10% or more would be good.

  • We would like a system for our Bay not just one small reserve. Reserves can regenerate each other and the outside harvesting area with egg drift.

  • We have realised that at this time, Marine Reserves are a straight-forward tool that can be enacted relatively quickly, especially with hapu support. Every care will be taken to reduce any negative impacts of creating a reserve on existing uses of the Bay.

  • We have a range of very different ecosystems and biodiversity hot spots in Doubtless Bay/ Tokerau. Therefore we should have some representative examples of each reserved for research and learning purposes. Several reserves / tapu areas spread around the Bay will spread the responsibility and mana around the community and hapu.

  • There are significant eco tourism and cultural tourism opportunities with reserves.

  • We are open to provision of a generational review of reserve areas. We support delegated management responsibilities for reserve areas, including concessions and compliance activities associated with reserves. Revenue from activities could potentially stay with hapu and iwi to further reserves aims and Kaitiaki role.

  • Management of Marine Reserves does not have to be with a Dept of Conservation majority. For example, the Whangara Marine reserve was set up as a joint partnership with Ngati Konohi and DoC in 1999. It has a 25 year or one generation review, and majority hapu and Maori management in association with DoC.

  • Our group together with Ngati Kahu representatives have visited two excellent Marine Reserves with Maori support; Goat Island Marine Reserve in Leigh in 2003 hosted by hapu at Omaha Marae. They were very positive about their reserve; for its regeneration of the marine environment, for local employment, and for the use of their marae. Also we visited “Te Tapuwae o Rongokako” marine reserve in 2005. We were hosted overnight by Hone Taumaunu of Ngati Konohi and DoC and he enthusiastically described the regeneration bringing things back that he had not seen since his childhood 70 years previously.