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Motiti Protected Fishing Areas from 11 August 2021

July 1, 2021
Motiti Protected Fishing Areas from 11 August 2021

The new Motiti Protection Area comes into effect on 11 August 2021, creating three protection areas around Motiti Island where the taking of all plants and animals (including fish and shellfish) will be prohibited. To protect the reef systems, anchoring on these reefs will also be prohibited. This is to protect indigenous biodiversity and acknowledge the significant marine, landscape and cultural values in the area. Those three areas comprise of Ōtaiti (Astrolabe Reef); including Te Papa (Brewis Shoal), Te Porotiti, and O karapu Reef, Motuhaku Island (Schooner Rocks) and Motunau Island (Plate Island).

The new rules will apply to everyone equally, including customary, recreational and commercial fishers, divers, those spearfishing, even if you’re catch and releasing.

We are giving a three-month notice period before the rules come into effect on 11 August, so everyone can get prepared and do their bit to protect this area’s marine biodiversity.

View the full Environment Court approved map (PDF 3.53MB) of the Motiti Protection Area.

Background

The reef systems off the coast of Motiti Island support a large range of plants and animals including fish and shellfish. In 2018 the Environment Court released an interim decision (PDF 7.87MB) (PDF 13.87MB)  that found the outstanding attributes and values of these reef systems needed better protection.

On 24 April 2020, the Environment Court released its final decision (PDF 715.13KB) (PDF 7.87MB)  which directs Bay of Plenty Regional Council to implement new rules within its Regional Coastal Environment Plan to protect three reef systems near Motiti Island and complete scientific monitoring to inform future integrated marine management solutions.

The new rules will create three protection areas (called the Motiti Protection Areas) around Motiti Island where the taking of all plants and animals (including fish and shellfish) would be prohibited due to their significant marine biodiversity, landscape and cultural values. Those three areas comprise of Ōtaiti (Astrolabe Reef); including Te Papa (Brewis Shoal), Te Porotiti, and O karapu Reef, Motuhaku Island (Schooner Rocks) and Motunau Island (Plate Island).

Public consultation

This is a unique and complex case, established by the Environment Court. As a result, there has not been specific public consultation, as the proposed protection areas were not part of the Regional Coastal Environment Plan when the last scheduled review and public consultation took place in 2015.

We are committed to providing clarity around what the outcome of this complex legal case means for our community and will be working with tāngata whenua and all stakeholders to make sure the new rules are well understood.

The case has been through multiple Courts, addressed complex legal matters and created case law. The Court of Appeal recognised the overlapping responsibilities between the Resource Management Act and the Fisheries Act and provided clarity around how the two acts can work together. We have been directed to collaborate with other government agencies and tāngata whenua on future marine management solutions and this will provide better outcomes for the environment and community.

At this stage, we are focusing on how to effectively implement the Motiti Protection Area as directed by the Environment Court. We are looking forward to working collectively with the Ministry of Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, Department of Internal Affairs, tāngata whenua and other key stakeholders on how to protect the outstanding attributes and values of these reef systems going forward. As mentioned above, collaboration may lead to an earlier plan change to consider a range of marine management tools to protect the existing high values of the area. It is worth noting that any earlier plan changes need to be funded and underpinned with new scientific evidence to support any proposed changes or new management tools, and the community will have an opportunity to participate through public consultation.

We do understand peoples’ frustration with how this unique decision has come about and any future process will include public consultation, run by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and submissions will be invited to provide further depth to the discussions.

Map coordinates for marine GPS or chart plotter

There are a variety of ways to view or download the coordinates for the new Motiti Protection Area.

To manually enter the coordinates into your GPS/chart plotter (latitude and longitude format), refer to the list of GPS waypoints below.

To download the coordinates onto your GPS/chart plotter (.gpx file format), select the GPS waypoints and/or GPS trackline files listed below. For support on how to update your device or card reader please refer to the relevant instructions.

Alternatively, to view an interactive map of the area or if your GPS/chart plotter requires a shapefile or Geojson file type please visit our Bay of Plenty Maps website.

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