Deep Water Cove rahui
Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands holds special memories for many fishermen and sailors. It is a safe anchorage in any wind except southwesterlies, so has been a favourite haven for coastal travellers. In order to preserve the uniqueness of the area the local community, lead by resident hapu Ngati Kuta and Patukeha, have declared a rahui for two years, from the 16th of March 2009.
Te Rawhiti community want people to respect the two-year rahui and not fish or gather shellfish in Maunganui Bay (Deep Water Cove) inside the line of Motuwheteke and Putahataha islands. Including the Bay, this area represents less than one square nautical mile.
Their objective is to rebuild depleted fish stocks, so there is no restriction on anchoring, diving or swimming in the Bay. Ongoing research to monitor the fishery within Maunganui will assist the local community to determine longer-term goals.
Since sinking the ex-Navy frigate the Canterbury in November 2007 divers have noticed an increase in the numbers of juvenile fish and reef species. Aside from being a refuge this artificial reef has become a popular tourist attraction for local and international divers.
Encouraged by this rejuvenation Ngati Kuta and Patukeha, as traditional kaitiaki/stewards, want to exercise their customary obligations to manage, protect and enhance the environment for the benefit of the whole community.
Unlike a no-take-forever marine reserve managed by the Department of Conservation, the local hapu and community are promoting this two-year initiative. There will be no fines or forfeiture if the rahui is breached. Ngati Kuta, Patukeha and the local community are relying on visiting divers and fishers to support this rahui by exercising self-discipline within Maunganui Bay.