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Drop In Meeting 9 July 2003


Report on Drop In Meeting
Great Barrier Island Marine Reserve

9 July 2003



Venue: DoC office, North Head, North Shore City
Date: Wednesday 9th July 2003
Duration: 3.0 hours
Attendance: 12 people and 7 DoC staff

Introduction
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."

Meeting
Twelve members of the public attended the meeting over the three-hour period.
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.


Observations
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.


Conclusion
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.

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