Category Archives: Fisheries

Submission on Marine Protected Areas Act

To the Ministers and advisors responsible for the Marine Protected Area discussion document:
As the lead conservation group in the Marlborough Sounds and environs, with a substantial number of supporters and members, Guardians of the Sounds (GOS) support the need to reform the Marine Reserves Act 1971, as the current legislation is too restrictive in only allowing marine reserves for scientific purposes.

The primary objective of the Marine Protected Areas Act should be to create marine reserves/MPA’s for the purpose of protecting and restoring biodiversity within the whole of New Zealand’s marine environment (as recommended and promoted by the IUCN). We support legislation that can deliver a comprehensive, adequate and representative network of Marine Reserves (fully protected areas) and other Marine Protected Areas. These areas should contain representative examples of the full range of marine communities and ecosystems and also outstanding, rare, distinctive or important marine habitats. We particularly need more, and larger, no-take reserves in our coastal waters close to population and recreation centres, where pollution, sedimentation in particular and fishing pressure have seriously degraded many marine ecosystems and their biodiversity. In addition, these no-take Marine Reserves can provide significant opportunities for ecologically sustainable business ventures, education and scientific research.

The Minister for the Environment, Dr Nick Smith, recently stated that New Zealand should aspire to be world leader in ocean management, but we are currently woefully behind what is happening in other countries. GOS believe we have to look beyond our borders to find a robust and achievable solution for the Marlborough Sounds and other areas under threat in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), one of the  largest in the world.

For example, at the recent World Parks Congress in Australia in late 2014, a recommendation was made to urgently increase the area that is managed in systems of Marine Protected Areas to at least 30% of each marine habitat, which has no extractive activities. This is a further increase in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Target for 10% of marine areas to be conserved in MPAs by 2020, which New Zealand is still well short of achieving.

GOS are of the firm belief that a potential and realistic solution for this revised act to ensure protection and restoration of marine biodiversity exists and has been proven to work for decades. Namely; large scale, comprehensive and adequate systems of marine management in the shape of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s), incorporating spatial planning and sanctuary zones (NZ marine reserves). These are already in place around the world, the most famous probably being the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP).
GOS also believe that for maximum efficiency and ease of public involvement and support, all existing and proposed MPA’s designated under this new MPA act, should be managed and overseen by a specific, adequately resourced Marine section within the DOC, rather than across a number of agencies and Ministerial Departments as proposed.
GOS believe it is also crucial that this legislation is applied to the whole of New Zealand’s marine environment including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Extended Continental Shelf and not restrict it to only the Territorial Sea. We need robust legislation that delivers protection within New Zealand’s whole Marine Environment, and certainty for its flora, fauna and users. A resilient economy requires a vigorous, healthy environment. This long term protection of the marine environment should not now or ever be constrained or compromised by oil, gas, mineral mining, or other extractive interests.

Marine Protected Areas must have the primary purpose of protecting biodiversity, and so we support the inclusion of Marine Reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, and Seabed Reserves as tools in this legislation. However, in order to ensure ‘New Zealand’s international obligations in relation to the marine environment are met’, they must be available throughout the whole of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Extended Continental Shelf and not restricted to the Territorial Sea, as currently advocated.
While we support the creation of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, the proposed MPA legislation must also include a formal and straightforward mechanism for creating other Marine Protected Areas in the EEZ.
GOS do not support including Recreational Fishing Parks in this legislation as they have no known conservation value and do not protect or enhance biodiversity. The IUCN also state that recreational fishing parks are not marine protected areas per se. In particular, GOS do not believe that the proposed Marlborough Sounds Recreational Fishing Park, first announced by Dr Nick Smith and Nathan Guy, prior to the last election, will achieve any significant improvement for the overall biodiversity, benthic, pelagic and coastal habitats. Also of concern, given that less than less than 20% of the population of New Zealand fish recreationally (MPI figures 2010), this proposal could be seen by the remaining 80% as being irrelevant, inappropriate and far too exclusive, catering only to one user group and even an offensive name by those who would wish to see the habitats, flora and fauna of the Sounds managed and protected for the benefit of all.
Tools for the sustainable management of fisheries are already available in the Fisheries Act 1996 and if, due to election promises, a decision is taken to pursue this approach, Recreational Fishing Parks should remain there. If fishing parks are to be included in the existing Fisheries Act legislation, they must allow for a representative network of no-take Marine Reserves within them to give them conservation value and to enhance the educational, scientific and recreational opportunities for non-extractive users; snorkellors, divers, eco-tourism etc.
Blue cod have been heavily depleted everywhere by commercial and recreational fishers over the years and have understandably showed signs of recovery (increase in size and abundance) when their habitat is protected ie.Taputeranga Marine Reserve. This is one of the few reserves worldwide that had a baseline study performed before the establishment of the reserve in 2008, allowing a more adequate approach for the detection of changes due to reservation status. Results to date suggest that there is a positive reserve effect on the abundance and size of blue cod. GOS believe that habitat protection for Blue Cod in particular from all fishing impacts in the Marlborough Sounds, should include all the enclosed bays and 463m off all islands (as at Long Island MR) i.e. fishing of any type only permitted in open channels.
GOS fully support MPAs being recognised in Regional Coastal Plans. We also support applications for land based activities subject to the RMA being required to take into account their effect on MPAs, as pollution from land based activities such as excessive nutrients and sediment are a major source of degradation of our coastal environment.
GOS fully support all existing no-take marine reserves being transitioned, with all their current protections, to the new legislation. There should also be a provision for restoration of existing marine reserves and potential new ones, given the level of degradation from human activities in particular, as well as environmental impacts
Given that the Marlborough Sounds has almost 20% of New Zealand’s coastline, GOS believe that it should be the first marine and coastal area to be afforded the same level of protection and management as the multi zoned, spatially managed GBRMP and that planning for this designation should proceed ASAP. To that end, GOS would also hope to be involved in further developments and amendments to this proposal to develop a new MPA Act, in order that it meets current and future international commitments.


Bill Foster
Vice-Chairman, Guardians of the Sounds
PO Box 197, Picton, 7220

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Endeavour Express pick up at Waikawa for Protest Flotilla

We have just arranged for the big Endeavour Express catamaran to call at Waikawa Bay wharf at 10am on Saturday 29th September to take people off the Hikoi out to the protest at Ruakaka. This vessel can carry at least 40 people and has all the life jackets aboard, so no need to bring them, although it wouldn’t hurt to bring small children’s life jackets if you have them. Should be back at Waikawa around 1.00pm.

NO CHARGE. Vessel has been chartered by Guardians.

Forecast is for sunny day, but pay to bring warm clothes.

Contact numbers: 573 6901 / 027 540 4407

Posted in Aquaculture, Fisheries, King Salmon EPA Inquiry, Sounds Management | Comments Off on Endeavour Express pick up at Waikawa for Protest Flotilla

Marlborough Sounds Environmental Coalition Formed

Pete and the Guardians of the Sounds realised that King Salmon’s application to extend their business, was too great an issue for them to handle on their own.

A meeting of local Environmental Groups was called in December 2011.
There now exists an incorporated society, “Sustain Our Sounds” (S.O.S) whose purpose is to protect and nurture the Sounds Area land and sea for future generations.

The Guardians are an associated member of S.O.S, and will be putting in submissions against any proposed use of the Sounds, detrimental to their sustained viability. It is time the politicians respected the science!

Learn more on the Sustain Our Sounds website at

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King Salmon apply for 8 new salmon farms in Marlborough Sounds

King Salmon have lodged 2 applications with E.P.A (Environmental Protection Agency) to be heard in the 2012 New Year, by a “Board of Enquiry”, ‘for expediency’, whose members are apparently appointed by the Minister of Fisheries.

1) Applying for a Private Plan Change to the existing Marlborough District Council Sounds Plan. (If successful, it would enable King Salmon un-restricted future use of the Marlborough Sounds.)

2) Applying for Resource Consent for approximately 8 new salmon farms immediately.

It is understood that such simultaneous applications, addressing matters of potentially significant local impact, has never occurred before.

Should King Salmon proposed tactic be successful, the time to undertake due diligence ie positive and negative effects on the environment and community will be reduced from approximately 3 years to approximately 9 months.
View video here

Salmon farming in Norway, Canada, Scotland, and Chile, after destroying the seabed beneath and contributing to disease and algae blooms) that devastated their industries, now seek to establish them in our Sounds.

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Land Based Salmon Farm

Retired scientist Larry Albright raises sockeye salmon in above-ground fresh water tanks which prevents waste from entering open water systems.

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Dive beneath an old Salmon Farm

Take a dive with filmmaker Twyla Roscovich at an old salmon farm in the Broughton Archipelago in British Columbia.

Posted in Aquaculture, Fisheries, Foreshore and Seabed, Sounds Management | 1 Comment

Its Not Just About The Blue Cod

It is disheartening to witness the collapse of our Blue Cod fishery but it is understandable.

Having been diving the Marlborough Sounds for 36years. I have enjoyed seeing 20lb moki, an abundance of crayfish, snapper, kingfish, groper, blue cod and other species. Sadly we have watched as species have become less and less.

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Submission re Marine Environment and Blue Cod Fishery

Submission re Marine Environment and Blue Cod Fishery in the Marlborough Sounds.
April 2008, Danny and Lyn Boulton

To embrace eco-system based and integrated management preserving a minimum of 35% of the coastal area of the Marlborough Sounds.

Before you say no be sure you understand the science and evidence that supports this submission’.

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Regional Policy Statement 2008

Kia Ora ,

These are thoughts on the need to develop long term strategic planning for

Totaranui Queen Charlotte Sounds.

I have limited this submission to Totaranui, QCS , My knowledge of Hioere,Pelorus is limited and judgements on its future is best left to persons who are better aquainted than myself, the only suggestion is that Tenneson Inlet Worlds End and d’Urville, Is French Pass should be made into MPA’s and don’t allow those wonderful big outer Sounds inlets like Port Gore and Titirangi be made into AMA areas, it is their seclusion that makes them so special don’t allow them to be fulled up to the eyes with aquaculture

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