Marine Protected Areas
Another emerging issue is the establishment of the northeast Marine Protected Areas forum. This group of 14 people will be formulating plans for marine protection in the northeast bioregion, extending from Ahipara on the northwest coast of the North Island, across the top and down to East Cape.
Marine reserves, fishing method and area restrictions are expected to be part of this MPA strategy being initiated by the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Fisheries.
The Accord hopes that people with an interest in this vast region are given ample opportunity to participate in the forum, consider, consult, and then deliver the best outcomes for their local areas.
How the 14 forum participants will be appointed is unclear, as is the departments’ mechanism for engaging with tangata whenua.
Maori have significant interests in all aspects of fishing – environmental, commercial, customary and amateur. The Fisheries Minister also has a statutory obligation to have particular regard to kaitiakitanga/guardianship.
The Hokianga Accord is keen to contribute to the MPA process to achieve our goal of fish abundance, availability and a healthy marine environment to sustain us all.
These and other issues will be discussed at the next Hokianga Accord hui in June at Whitiora marae, Te Tii, Bay of Islands. All welcome – please call Shelley Naera on 0275 872466 for more details if you would like to attend.