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2 April 2003

Alan Moore
Coastal Scientist
Auckland Regional Council
Private Bag 92012

Fax Number: 09 3662155

Dear Alan

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.

  1. As there is no process for re-classification of a marine park, this proposal is in effect an application for a new marine reserve.
  2. 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.
  3. You will also be aware that the Minister has approved the establishment of Te Matuku Marine Reserve off the south coast of Waiheke Island.
  4. 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 double-dipping.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 be counterproductive.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 in time.

Yours sincerely
Paddy Stafford-Bush