Protecting the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
© Darryl Torckler

Protecting the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Bottom trawling, scallop dredging and Danish seining are destructive fishing methods that have been taking place in the Hauraki Gulf for decades.

The time has come to remove these harmful fishing practices from the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

© Darryl Torckler/WWF

WWF-New Zealand welcomes the announcement of a consultation process to significantly reduce the trawling corridors in Tīkapa Moana/the Hauraki Gulf. 

Proposing to take the ban from the current 29% to 74-89% of the Gulf is a decent step in the right direction.

“The seafloor, particularly around sensitive habitats like seamounts, has delicate and fragile ecosystems that take thousands of years to grow but only seconds to destroy. Bottom trawling is an indiscriminate fishing method that devastates everything in its path, and releases tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process,” says WWF-New Zealand CEO Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb. 

The rapidly declining state of the Hauraki Gulf is of grave concern. Over the last decade, an area three times the size of Auckland of virgin seabed has been trawled. Overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, sedimentation, and the effects of poorly planned urban development have led to a 57% decline in key fish stocks, a 67% decline in seabirds, and a 97% decline in whales and dolphins. Snapper and crayfish populations are functionally extinct in some areas. 

Tīkapa Moana is the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau and an important cultural, recreational, and economic hub for Aotearoa. It is a biodiversity hotspot on the doorstep of our largest city - once home to an immense array of native species, and a critical source of sustenance. 

“This place is central to who we are, and we need to take better care of it. In order to truly allow this national taonga to recover and thrive, we must end bottom trawling in Tīkapa Moana. If this practice is to continue, these trawl corridors need to be as small as possible,” urged Dr Kingdon-Bebb.