Gaining a greater understanding of Hawke’s Bay’s marine and coastal area is the purpose of a new research plan to be launched on Friday 8 June by the Minister of Fisheries and Napier MP, Hon Stuart Nash.
The Marine and Coastal Research Roadmap aims to achieve a healthy and functioning marine ecosystem by improving understanding of this zone.
The plan has been developed by the Hawke’s Bay Marine and Coastal Group over the past 18 months.
The group came together following concerns about the localised depletion of inshore finfish stocks and environmental degradation in the Hawke’s Bay sea area. The group includes recreational and commercial fishers, tangata whenua, Fisheries New Zealand, and the Department of Conservation and is chaired by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council science staff.
“We don’t know much about our marine environment and the effect activities on our land have on the sea and the ecosystems, so to make improvements we have to know what we are dealing with,” said Oliver Wade, HBRC coastal scientist who has chaired the group.
“It has been fantastic to see the commitment of the wide variety of interests and be involved in developing a way forward so we can improve our research and knowledge to help make sound policies for our marine area.”
An important area of research for Hawke’s Bay is finding out what effect activities on the land are having on the sea, and what might minimise their effect. Another gap in knowledge relates to the subtidal ecosystems and how these might be changing; these areas are important as nurseries and feeding areas for many species.
Not enough is known about local fisheries, where the common fish species spawn and how they migrate. The Group is planning a citizen science approach to gather information from recreational and commercial fishers, and to use traditional knowledge. They will also research how and where fisheries can be enhanced by creating new habitats. This can be as simple as fencing off existing habitations in estuaries and streams.
The principles of Matauranga Māori and kaitiakitanga plus the consideration of climate change impacts are fundamental to all of the themes.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council increased the funding of its coastal and marine science through the ‘hot spot’ funding last year, and has allocated more funding in the long term plan.
The Hawke’s Bay Marine and Coastal Group also intends to secure additional funding for the wide range of research needed through other agencies with management responsibilities in the marine space.
1 June 2018
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