Last updateTue, 18 Apr 2017 8am

Why do we need no-take marine sanctuaries?

Teenager copyWe need a network of no-take marine sanctuaries to let parts of the Bay of Islands return to their natural state. We need them for scientific study - to provide a baseline for monitoring human impact. We need them to allow our children to learn what untouched waters are like. We need them to continue fishing for recreation and food. We need them to ensure our waters contribute to the local economy as a life-filled asset, not a dead sea.

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Ever seen a kina barren?

kinaSo you think that the bare rock and dozens of sea urchins you see when snorkelling in the Bay of Islands are natural? 

Think again. These zones of devastation are known as kina barrens. Kina barrens are common on the North East coast of New Zealand and were thought natural until only a few years ago. The photos below illustrate the story.

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The lowdown

youngster-smallerStudies have been done since the 70s, counting the number of crayfish in the shallow waters of the NE coast of New Zealand in:
     1) areas with no protection
     2) areas with limited protection (only recreational fishing, no commercial)
     3) areas that are FULLY protected (100% no take).

This graph shows that in protected areas we can expect around 1000 legal-size crays per hectare, compared with 1.75 per hectare in fished waters.

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The Science of No-Take

Teenager copyDr Roger Grace has been collecting data about the northeast coast of New Zealand for 50 years, focusing mainly on crayfish and snapper. The first empirical data was gathered in 1971. Since then, much has changed on our coast - the abundance and size of fish in non-protected areas have steadily declined, while the replenishing stocks in protected zones, such as Goat Island and Tawharanui, have skyrocketed. This two-part video explains why.

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Why managing fisheries for sustainability is necessary but not sufficient


New Zealand boasts one of the best fisheries management models in the world. But leading edge as it may be, our Quota Management System (QMS) is more about exploiting fisheries resources, albeit sustainably,  than it is about protecting natural biodiversity.

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