2 April 2003
Auckland Regional Council
Private Bag 92012
Fax Number: 09 3662155
Tawharanui Marine Reserve Proposal
I refer to your letter of 17 February 2003 regarding the proposa1
to "re-classify" Tawharanui Marine Park as a marine reserve.
The Board is very appreciative of the opportunity to have an input
into this proposal and would like to make the following comment.
- As there is no process for re-classification of a marine park,
this proposal is in effect an application for a new marine reserve.
- There are currently two other marine reserve proposals in the
public arena within the Auckland Conservancy - one focussed on
Tiritiri Matangi and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and the other
being the recently released discussion document for a marine reserve
adjacent to the north-east coast of Great Barrier Island. The
Board notes from press coverage that the reaction from the fishing
community to both of these has been very strong and largely unsupportive.
- You will also be aware that the Minister has approved the establishment
of Te Matuku Marine Reserve off the south coast of Waiheke Island.
- The Board is keenly aware of the need to better look after
our marine environment. We are strongly supportive of a goal of
achieving better protection of areas representative of Auckland's
own distinctive marine character, but believe that the community
must also be behind such a goal. We are also aware that some supporters
of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park consider that mechanism to provide
a substitute regime for control and see marine reserves as effectively
- Also we are perturbed at what could appear to be a "rash"
of ad hoc applications in the absence of a publicly approved marine
protected area strategy for the regíon, and the greater
public buy-in this might provide.
- The Board has just made a submission on the Tiritiri Matangi
Marine Reserve proposal supporting the smaller proposal - this
support sterns from our judgement that the current level of public
awareness about marine protection and support for marine reserves
is unlikely to sustain the bigger boundary option, or greater
public cooperation and 'buy-in' for voluntary compliance. The
Board's objective in this regard is to secure long term support
for marine protected areas - not necessarily just marine reserves
- and too many proposals launched simultaneously will undoubtedly
- The Board supports ongoing marine protection at Tawharanui
and considers reserve status desirable in the longer term. However
the marine area currently has a degree of protection and the Board
sees no immediate or pressing need for upgrading that status.
- The Board is of the view that, from a timing perspective, the
application is premature and has significant potential to exacerbate
local opposition to marine reserves generally and the two under
consideration in particular. In the absence of any information
as to reasons for urgency, we would not support Council making
application to the Director-General of Conservation at this point