Written by on June 24, 2022

The fishing community is up in arms over a proposal by the Waikato Regional Council that would see commercial and recreational fishing banned from extensive area around the entire Coromandel Peninsula.

The draft proposal recently released by the Waikato Regional Council has several proposals and one of these is to “Prohibit Disturbance of the Seabed or Foreshore in Specifically Identified and Mapped Areas”. For the mapped areas you can refer to the below picture. This would significantly limit fishing activities including diving and effectively make these marked locations the equivalent of Marine Reserves.

The designation of areas for Marine Reserves has traditionally been the role of central Government and therefore subject to the rigors of the Parliamentary system. In August 2021 the same limitations banning fishing were implemented near Motiti Island in the Bay of Plenty. This restriction was put in place by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and subject to a challenge in the Environment Court, the result of which was that it supported the ruling, and in so doing, established the framework for Regional Councils to have the authority to impose bans. The ban was also supported by the then Minister of Environment Kiri Allan, who approved the Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal Environment Plan.

This has created a strong push back from the local fishing industry who were “absolutely outraged” at the decision and the outcome of the court process. Mount Maunganui Sports Fishing Club president, Dennis Gore at the time referred to the ban as “unbelievable” and said that the fishing community was disgusted.

Local Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said that hundreds of recreational fishers were not given the opportunity to put forward their views on the closure of these areas.

Local fishing clubs in Whitianga and Tairua are equally up in arms and see this as a battle that will need fighting with everything that they can throw at it. John Neighbours the longstanding President of the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club said he was appalled that this was being proposed.

Likewise, Warren Maher President of the Tairua Pauanui Sport Fishing Club and Vice President Sport Fishing Council of New Zealand said he read the paper with complete surprise that the Regional Council could do this behind closed doors and with no input from parties impacted by the decisions of the Council. He said he was hugely disappointed in the proposal and would have no doubt there would be general strong opposition to this plan.

Warren Maher also said that these types of radical proposals have driven him to stand for the Waikato Regional Council in the coming local body elections. He feels that there is a need to provide greater public input into proposals and some balance to what he sees as radical views that are dominating recent decision at the council. He encourages people to make sure they are on the roll and vote at the next election. This includes the large number of absentee owners who are also entitled to enrol and vote in the local body elections at both District and Regional level.

You can download a copy of the paper here.

The Waikato Regional Council have asked for submissions and input from the public. Submissions close on 22 July 2022.

Reader's opinions
  1. David Lenden   On   June 24, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    What gives the WRC the right to tell me I cannot go fishing to feed my family in these areas, been doing this for 59 years. Ok, I’m not Maori, but this is still my traditional fishing grounds.
    You people who are thinking of doing this are out of touch with this region and the people who live here

  2. Trevr Barton   On   June 25, 2022 at 8:42 am

    I certainly am against this proposal.We can’t take our family out to the beach for a days fishing along the shore.As a child growing growing up I looked forward going to the beach surfcasting to catch fish for our family.If this is passed we will no longer be able to participate in something we have done for centuries.Absolutly gobsmacked.

  3. Denis Tegg   On   June 25, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Let’s get the facts straight here. Waikato Regional Council has developed a draft – emphasise draft – Regional Coastal Plan. The draft plan does not contain any Council-proposed marine reserves or marine protected areas that might control fishing activities. No such decision has been made. The draft maps show areas of high indigenous biodiversity values where there are rare and threatened species. These draft mapped areas are NOT the equivalent of marine reserves, and the maps DO NOT show ‘no take’ fishing areas. The final version of the plan will go out for formal public submissions early next year when everyone can have their say.

    • Brett Flowerday   On   June 25, 2022 at 4:48 pm

      The facts are that the draft is the start of a lengthy and costly process that WRC has begun. If WRC had no intention of implementing this in the future they would not start this process at all.

    • Steve Clay   On   June 27, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Denis a major part of why we live in the Coromandel is to enjoy the Marine environment and gathering Kia Moana for friends and Whanau don’t you and the WRC repeat Motiti Island

    • Jeffrey Barbour   On   July 19, 2022 at 3:30 pm

      Dennis, you are not being truthful though are you. You know as well as i do that this conversation will end up with one result, the closing of huge areas of fishing water being closed to the public, (or some of the public).

  4. Lindsay Arthur   On   June 25, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    Well to me this has come right out of the BLUE and will have a huge ripple effect, seems to me that all territorial authourities want change and they are using our rate monies to beat us around the ears. Every day now we ordinary citizens are being told what to do by a few power mad persons

  5. Phill   On   June 26, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    What a way to screw the coromandle, how many jobs will be lost with the ripple effect. Will agree with a few small reserves put in place aslong as there’s still beaches an close to shore areas to fish for each town, but would rather see daily fish limits decreased before this happens. I bet this will not apply to the iwi.

  6. Steve Clay   On   June 27, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Gob smacked but not surprised that WRC should come up with such a Putin type idea as the people in Tauranga how the feel about Motiti island that has closed vast areas of easy accessible to the locals who have been fishing the area for generations and now it’s lost for ever one would question weather the WRC is over stepping it’s original mandate
    The answer no to any proposals
    Regards Steve Clay

  7. Greg Sheehan   On   July 21, 2022 at 6:19 am

    This sneaky proposal must be stopped. We rarely see public input taken seriously so I expect that WRC will shove this Mahuta style legislation through at all cost. We need to vote these proposers out of office and get some sense back.

  8. Timothy Berendsen   On   July 23, 2022 at 2:01 am

    Fishing is a way of life that my father taught me as a kid i caught my very first fish from the firth of thames at 6 years old.just the thought of not being aloud to fish makes me sick as long as there have been humans there has been fishing not to mention the benefits of fishing eg stress relief a escape from the grind of everyday life to feed your family in already tough times for the smiles on your children’s faces when they catch a fish.the thought of this is sickening an wrc this shouldn’t even be on your agenda it is rediculous

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