Key Points | Report Card | Technical Information | Data
What is happening in our region
Coastal areas can be awarded varying degrees of protection:
Marine Reserves provide the highest level of protection of the marine environment. Currently, only one Marine Reserve exists in the Waikato region: Te Whanganui-A-Hei, near Hahei. It covers an area of nearly 800 hectares (ha).
Marine Parks represent another level of protection. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park includes the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Peninsula. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 sets out objectives designed to protect in perpetuity the natural and historic features of the Gulf. If restrictions are needed to achieve those objectives then acts such as the Resource Management Act, Marine Reserves Act 1971 or the Fisheries Act 1996 may be used. There are five marine reserves within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, although only one is within the Waikato region.
The Hauraki Gulf Forum was established as result of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act. On the Forum is representation from the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries and Ministry of Maori Affairs, six representatives of the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, and twelve local authorities (including Environment Waikato). The Forum meets four times a year and launched the Hauraki Gulf State of the Environment Report in May 2005 available from Auckland Regional Council’s website.
Areas of Significant Conservation Value (ASCVs) afford legal protection (as outlined in the Regional Coastal Plan) to many of the region’s important estuarine environments and spawning grounds.
Other forms of ‘protection’ include areas designated as local fishing grounds under the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 and submarine cable and pipeline zones. (See Table 1 for more information.)
Figure 1 shows the amount (ha) of the Coastal Marine Area (CMA); (the area between Mean High Water Springs and 12 nautical miles offshore) awarded a degree of protection.
Figure 2 shows the areas of different coastal protection as a percentage of the total (Waikato region) Coastal Marine Area.
- The graphs show that very little (0.08%) of the Waikato region’s Coastal Marine Area are awarded the protection of Marine Reserve. However, many of the region’s harbours and estuaries have some protection as ASCVs. 15,000 ha (1.51% of the Coastal Marine Area) along the west coast and 33,000 ha (3.27%) along the Coromandel Peninsula and the Firth of Thames are afforded this protection. The entire coast of the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Peninsula belongs within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
- The total area of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is 1,388,786 ha. It includes the entire territorial waters of the Firth of Thames and Coromandel Peninsula, (as well as the eastern Coastal Marine Area of Auckland Regional Council) and therefore is on a much larger scale than the other areas.
- Taiapure and Rohe Moana (see Table 1 for definitions) occupy significant areas of the Coastal Marine Area (16,000 and 50,000 ha respectively), but are limited to the west coast of the region.
Figure 1: Area of Coastal Marine Area (CMA) in hectares (ha) occupied by areas of different coastal protection. Total Coastal Marine Area for the region is approximately 1,010,000 ha. N.B. The total area of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is 1,388,786 ha. This is made up of 581,771 ha of the Waikato region’s CMA and 807,015 ha of Auckland Regional Council’s CMA.
Figure 2: Areas of different coastal protection as a percentage of the total (Waikato region) Coastal Marine Area.
N.B. Hauraki Gulf Marine Park makes up 57% of the total CMA because it includes the entire Coromandel Peninsula and Firth of Thames CMA.
|Protected coastal area
|Level of protection|
||Department of Conservation
||All marine life is protected. Fishing, or removal or disturbance of any living or non-living material is prohibited. An example is Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove).|
||Protected by Fisheries and Harbours acts or under their own legislation
||Particular activities may be restricted and possibly different areas within the park may have different levels of protection. For example, commercial trawling is not allowed in the Hauraki Gulf nor may scallops be taken in Whangapoua Harbour. An example is Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. |
|Area of Significant Conservation Value (ASCV)
||ASCVs are identified in the Regional Coastal Plan and it is intended that |
“…any proposed use or development in these areas avoids or remedies any adverse effect on the values that have been identified.”
An example is Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour.
||Ministry of Fisheries
||Taiapure are given special status to recognise rangatiratanga. Under the Fisheries Act 1996 management arrangements can be established that recognise the significance of the area to iwi or hapu.|
An example is Kawhia Aotea Taiapure.
||Ministry of Fisheries
||An area where Kaitiaki are appointed for the management of customary food gathering.|
An example is Aotea Harbour (Nga Hapu o Aotea Moana).
|Submarine Cable and Pipeline Protection Zone
||Ministry of Fisheries
||No fishing or anchoring allowed to protect the cables/pipeline from damage. |
An example is Taharoa.
Table 1: Detail on different forms of coastal protection.
Why we need to monitor the protection of our Coastal Marine Area
Monitoring the protection of the coastal marine environment helps us to better manage current pressures and future economic growth.
The Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries have recently released the Marine Protected Areas Policy and Implementation Plan, in which they state that they are committed to protecting New Zealand’s marine biodiversity by establishing a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Without coastal protection a variety of undesirable effects may occur. These include:
- a decline in water quality, reducing its recreational, economic and cultural value
- a reduction in biodiversity and/or deterioration of traditional fishing grounds
- alteration of coastal processes. This can be caused by hard structures within the marine environment
- loss of economic value associated with marine ecotourism and other tourism.
Changes in ‘protected’ areas can be observed over time, which will help to monitor efforts towards protection of the Waikato region’s marine biodiversity.
Sedimentation and effluent run-off can negatively impact on the environment of Marine Reserves and Marine Parks. It is very important that effective land management and coastal development are linked with the development of marine protection.
What Environment Waikato is doing
Management of the Coastal Marine Area is complex and involves a number of agencies, including but not limited to the regional councils, the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Fisheries and community (harbourcare) groups. This indicator reflects the combined actions of all agencies, not just Environment Waikato.
Environment Waikato aims to raise the public’s awareness so that people understand the impacts the daily actions in their lives and businesses can have on the environment. Under the Resource Management Act, Environment Waikato is responsible for managing some land use activities and water quality. Together with the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries, it is also responsible for managing the Coastal Marine Area.
What you can do to help
Find out more about your local environment, e.g. by joining a Landcare, Harbour care or Beachcare group.
Get involved in environmental issues, e.g. make a submission on a plan, support the establishment of a network of protected marine areas.
Consider the impacts of where and how you live.
More detail on this indicator, including how and where Environment Waikato collected this information, is available in the Technical Information page.