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Hauraki Gulf: Political action needed to drive Sea Change

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Forest & Bird says the final piece of the jigsaw needed to revive the Hauraki Gulf from its current degraded state is strong Government backing.

“Everything is in place to bring back the health and abundance of the Gulf – we have the science, the stakeholder consensus, and a ground-breaking plan of action called ‘Sea Change’, but the key piece that’s missing is cohesive political support,” says Forest & Bird’s Hauraki Gulf Advocate Alicia Bullock.

The Government has supported iwi, fishers, and environmental representatives to develop an innovative, integrated solution for restoring the Gulf – and now Forest & Bird is calling on the Government to put Sea Change into action.

“Forest & Bird supporters are determined to see this happen, and we will make sure the coalition Government doesn’t drop the ball.“

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has today released the ‘State of our Gulf’ report, which shows the health of the Gulf continues to decline.

Ms Bullock says that the Hauraki Gulf has a quality and diversity of wildlife and landscape that makes it outstanding within New Zealand and the world.

"However, as demonstrated in the latest report, its health continues to degrade. Without urgent and integrated management of impacts, this will only worsen as our human population increases."

"If implemented, Sea Change would be transformative for the Hauraki Gulf - but without political commitment, it will continue to deteriorate. There will be more toxic beaches, fewer fish, and continued ecosystem destruction."

“We cannot address the issues facing the Hauraki Gulf in isolation from one another. Central government has previously taken a siloed, single-issue approach to the Gulf. Sea Change gives us a new, collective way forward, and must be implemented as an integrated package without delay,” says Ms Bullock.

Forest & Bird is looking to the Minister of Conservation, Minister for Fisheries, and others for bold, collaborative leadership and kaitiakitanga for Sea Change and the Hauraki Gulf.

Forest & Bird has launched a campaign to harness community support for the implementation of Sea Change as an integrated package. 

The State of our Gulf 2017 report can be found here.

Key impacts

  • Trevally numbers have reduced by 86%, snapper by 83%, and sharks, a key part of the ecosystem, by 86%.
  • A recently discovered, large scallop bed has collapsed after only 4 years of poorly managed fishing.
  • Auckland Council has blacklisted 16 spots as unsafe for swimming, citing concerns over long-term water quality issues. Eleven others have temporary high-risk warnings in place.
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