Greenpeace is renewing its call for a complete ban on destructive bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf marine park, following a government announcement today that trawl methods will continue in parts of the Gulf.
“If the government is serious about revitalising the Hauraki Gulf they must act immediately to remove destructive bottom trawling methods from the entire marine park – not launch proposals that will allow it to continue unabated in euphemistically dubbed ‘trawl corridors’”, says Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner Jessica Desmond.
“Species in the Gulf are in an extinction crisis and if we want this precious marine area to recover and thrive bottom trawling has got to go. The government must have the courage to stand up to the commercial fishing industry and do what’s right: protect Tīkapa Moana for future generations by banning bottom trawling.”
The government announced today that the public will be able to comment on four proposals – all of which will allow trawl methods to continue to various degrees in designated areas of the Gulf.
Polling shows that the vast majority of New Zealanders oppose bottom trawling with 84% wanting it gone from the Hauraki Gulf and almost 80% agreeing it should be banned on seamounts in the deeper sea.
“The public is already on side with a ban on bottom trawling and the mandate for change is very clear”, says Desmond.
“Nobody wants a dead, empty ocean. People want to see an end to this destructive fishing method and if the government is serious about protecting the ocean, they already know what to do: ban bottom trawling from where it does the most harm, including removing it from the entire Hauraki Gulf marine park.”
The announcement follows months of opposition from environmental groups and the public. In April hundreds of people gathered with boats and kayaks at Mission Bay to call for a ban on bottom trawling in the Hauraki Gulf and in June a petition from the Hauraki Gulf Alliance and signed by over 36,000 people calling for the same was delivered to Parliament.
Earlier this month, following the Hauraki Gulf Fisheries Plan launch, Greenpeace rebranded MPI the ‘Ministry for Destructive Fishing’ in protest of bottom trawl methods being allowed to continue in the marine park.
Call upon the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries to ban all forms of mobile bottom-contact fishing including bottom trawling, scallop dredging and Danish seining within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.