on Drop In Meeting
Great Barrier Island Marine Reserve
Venue: DoC office, North Head, North Shore City
Date: Wednesday 9th July 2003
Duration: 3.0 hours
Attendance: 12 people and 7 DoC staff
The Department of Conservation (DoC) advertised this meeting as
" Your chance to speak face-to- face to DoC staff and Auckland
Conservation Board members about the marine reserve proposed for
Great Barrier Island."
Twelve members of the public attended the meeting over the three-hour
Nine were clearly against the proposal; two were supportive of marine
reserves in general but not keen on the size of this proposal area.
The subjects of commercial fishing, overfishing and seasonal closures
were discussed. The question was asked " Why are you penalising
the little guy when it's commercial fishing that is the problem?"
Warwick Murray, DoC, responded by saying "The Ministry of Fisheries
is aware of the issue of overfishing. We recognise recreational
fishing and it is fundamentally important to protect that activity."
Education and enforcement of current fisheries regulations were
discussed. It was stressed that most fishermen are very conservation
minded these days and release a lot of fish.
Question: Why put something that size so close
to one third of the population if it's not to increase the fish
population outside the reserve area?
WM: We felt it would have the least affect on people
there. Quite a lot of people support a marine reserve somewhere
there. Most of the concerns are about the pipi area and those wanting
to launch from shore, at Okiwi to go and catch a fish. Fishermen
feel their rights are being taken away.
Question: What about the other marine reserves?
WM: We are thinking of setting up a different process.
We are looking to set up a process for the Hauraki Gulf and west
coast on where should our priority be for the next few years.
Question: Do you think the fishermen are having
a big impact on this area?
WM: No, it's the commercial fishing. I guess a
lot of people are concerned about their right, or privilege to catch
a fish. So we have to address those concerns at government level.
The Department of Conservation has consistently denied the public
of Auckland any opportunity to attend a meaningful and well-advertised
series of public meetings. The attendance at this drop in session
clearly reflects the effort DoC has made to inform the public.