The National Party promised yesterday to turn the inner Hauraki Gulf into a different kind of reserve – a recreational fishing park.
It’s a change the Government previously resisted, instead opting last year to reduce recreational bag limits and increase the catchable size to conserve fish stocks.
The Hauraki Gulf park and another in the Marlborough Sounds would be the first 2 such parks created under a rewritten Marine Protected Areas Act. Commercial fishing would be excluded and commercial fishers currently operating in the proposed parks would be compensated.
Other aspects of the reform would include providing for a range of marine protected areas, including no-take marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries & seabed reserves.
The proposed Hauraki Recreational Fishing Park would incorporating statistical area 7 in fisheries management area 1 & Omaha Bay. Commercial operators currently catch some snapper, flounder, john dory, crayfish & kahawai within the area, but it doesn’t account for a significant part of the catches of any of those species.
The proposal was announced by Prime Minister John Key, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy & Conservation Minister Nick Smith.
Attribution: Party release.