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AMA – ARC Liaison with Recreational Fishers

Proposed AMA in Western Firth of Thames (WFT)

  3 June 2004


By: Jason Foord
Date: 5 June 2004
For: option4, NZBGFC, NZRFC, NZACA
ARC Reps: Dominic McCarthy, Alan Moore, James Fuller
Fishers: Rowan Blundell (Kawakawa Boat Club), Keith Ingram (NZRFC and MTA), Jason Foord (option4)
Venue: Vodafone House (Regional House)
Duration: 2 hours
Why: ARC want feedback re the proposed AMA and it's potential impact on recreational fishers and other recreational users

Western Firth of Thames AMA

Stage One

  • ARC has been through an extensive "Constraint Mapping Exercise" with regards to AMA.
  • This means they take a map of the regional and exclude all areas that are unsuitable due to other activities (shipping channels, cable channels, defence areas, areas already in farms or purse seined etc).
  • Conclusion reached: only place suitable in the entire ARC region is WFT and parts of the Kaipara.
  • They intend to go back to the community in late June early July.
  • August/September scientists will go back to the council with plan/recommendations.
  • Thames Valley Mussels (Sealord/Hauraki Maori Consortium) have an existing consent for a large spat catching area already that they have not yet constructed.
  • Constraint Mapping exercise info is all available on ARC website

Stage Two

  • Only the WFT goes forward for in-depth study of water column, currents, benthic life etc.
  • This session was presented by Dom McCarthy ARC Environmental Scientist.
  • DM said that phyto plankton feeders in the inter-tidal areas such as cockles can be starved if huge mussel farms extract too much phy-pkt (he described as a "wall").
  • Mussels do extract snapper eggs from the water column.
  • Mussels do produce (I think the word was "extrict") "pseudo faeces" – which can in some cases enhance phy-pkt growth.
  • All marine life from cockles-flounder-godwits depends on the phy-pkt as the basis of life.
  • Conclusion of the detailed enviro computer modeling taking all of the above into account: AMA here "not of huge consequence" environmentally – thought social and cultural impacts would be bigger/more important

Discussion with Fishers

  • James Fuller believes the three key issues for AMA in WFT are navigation, visual effects on landscape and recreational/fishing values.
  • KI asked – who effects compliance for lighting, position, buoys etc and AM said Regional Councils.
  • AM said that under the new regime consent holders will be BONDED (actually an insurance policy) so that if the farm fails there is money to remove it and clean up the mess – may not be enforceable for existing farms/consents.
  • AM said that monies from seabed rentals have to spent on coastal issues – KI suggested that at the moment most is spent on environmental issues rather than improving boating amenities (lights, navigation, ramps, parking at ramps).
  • DM thought this was a good idea but that it needed to be presented to "the politicians".
  • KI thought that one big new AMA area based around the existing farm at Matingarahi was the way to go and is opposed to many small ones in sheltered bays.


  • 21st of June has been set as the deadline for feedback from public.
  • There is a set form for submissions and JF has emailed this to Trish.
  • Finfish – not studied in terms of impact for proposed WFT AMA – a resource consent would be required therefore can put conditions on consents – JF said that personally he was utterly opposed to them.
  • RB asked how rubbish from the farms would be dealt with (ropes, spat trays, buoys etc) – this has not yet been determined.


  • Two finfish cages have been proposed for the west side of Ponui and failure not to include this in the computer modeling is very problematic given the amount of effluent that flows from them.
  • The issue of Bonds seems to be settled which was an important issue (need to confirm this in the draft legislation).
  • The idea of applying seabed licence money to improving recreational fishing facilities etc is a good idea and needs to be worked up and presented to council.
  • The idea of one new very large area for the AMA does seem a better on than many small ones that fill up the sheltered bays that many boaties use.
  • If the enlargement does take place the WFT seems to be a good location from a navigation and sea channel perspective.
  • JF – did note that the notification for the meeting was totally inadequate and that we should have had two weeks minimum.  



ARC contacts: Alan Moore      09 366 2000       ext 7058

                     James Fuller     09 366 2000       ext 8126



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