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    Posted: 20 Jun 2018 at 5:09pm
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Environment Court supports fishing ban on Astrolabe Reef
20 Jun, 2018 2:30pm 4 minutes to read
Astrolabe Reef as it looked nearly six years ago when the wreck of the Rena still sat above the rocks. Photo / FileAstrolabe Reef as it looked nearly six years ago when the wreck of the Rena still sat above the rocks. Photo / File
John Cousins     
By: John Cousins
John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times
[email protected] @ Bay_Times
The Environment Court has supported banning fishing on Astrolabe Reef and two other popular Bay fishing spots near Motiti Island, saying they had the potential to significantly boost tourism, particularly recreational diving.

Environment Judge Jeff Smith has issued an interim decision on the appeal led by Motiti Rohe Moana Trust against the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Coastal Plan.

The decision awaits the outcome of the Court of Appeal ruling on whether councils could use the Resource Management Act to control fishing - or whether control should continue to be left to the Ministry for Primary Industries using the Fisheries Act.

Judge Smith's 59-page decision followed a nine-day hearing at Mount Maunganui last year at which the Regional Council defended its plan.

It could result in the protection of all fish and marine plant life in a 30sq km area that included Astrolabe Reef (Otaiti) and the nearby reef structures of Okaparu and Te Papa (Brevis Shoals).

The two other areas where the court sought a prohibition on the damage, destruction and removal of all marine life were Motunau (Plate) Island and Schooner Rocks.

Judge Smith said the opportunity to combine a visit to one of the world's more significant wrecks, the Rena, with the biodiversity viewing opportunities, had in the court's view the potential for significant long-term economic gain for Tauranga.

''We consider that the displacement of commercial and recreational fishing to other areas around Motiti is likely to be minimally affected.''

The three protected areas were within a larger area called the Motiti Natural Environment Management Area. The court ruled that the Coastal Plan should also impose controls on the rest of this area, particularly fishing methods that damaged bottom-living animals and plants, or impacted on sea birds and marine mammals. Recreational and commercial fishing would continue to be allowed.

Judge Smith said it was intended that the three marked areas would be an interim measure while "various bodies seek to adopt an integrated approach to the avoidance of adverse effects ... and that a plan change or other mechanisms may be introduced in due course."
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote EarlyRiser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2018 at 5:17pm
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REST OF ARTICLE

REST OF ARTICLE:
The appeal was partly based on the council admitting that there was a gap in the rules framework to protect indigenous aquatic life in the Motiti Management Area.

Judge Smith said the hearing proceeded on the assumption that the Resource Management Act could still impose controls in limited circumstances.

''There is international and national concern at the ongoing loss of biodiversity (particularly marine) and clear evidence of the interconnection of habitat, flora and fauna.''

The protected areas, including the Rena wreck, could still be accessed by sightseeing divers.

"We consider that the potential of protecting these key areas provides a proper balance, not only in environmental but in cultural terms," he said.

"Overall, we see the adverse effects of protection of the three significant areas as minimal. We consider that the displacement of commercial and recreational fishing is likely to be minimal. In the context of the catchment area for MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) it is negligible.

"We are satisfied that the displacement of commercial and recreational fishing is so minor as to be regarded as minimal."

The court said the 30sq km represented less than 0.1 per cent of the Bay of Plenty.

Next steps in the Environment Court appeal process:
- Regional Council to draft "appropriate provisions" and circulate by June 25.
- Parties to the appeal have six weeks to respond to the draft provisions.
- Council reports back to the Environment Court four weeks later.
- Court will consider the document and any decision or pending decision from higher courts on jurisdiction.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 11:01am
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This is really scary stuff, and which I had a suspicion was coming. Who knows where this will end up. The devil will be in the detail. Also will be interesting to see what comes out of the Court Of Appeal decision. I know the regional council doesn't want to be fisheries managers, they have a enough on their plates already.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 12:15pm
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Ironic the week a big deal (celebrate even)is made about a comm boat joining the fleet to slay the schools of hoki roughy etc. They then plan on shutting down safe small boat rec spots, you couldn’t make it up.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote letsgetem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 4:20pm
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If the Court of Appeal does not overturn the previous Environment Court decision, it will see marine reserves hugely expanded, under control of local bodies instead of central government. Maori will hope to win out, and other fishing (both commercial and recreational) will lose big time.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (5) Likes(5)   Quote Tagit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 5:32pm
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I love the way that every time a marine reserve is mentioned out comes the old argument thatthe millions of recreational divers that don't want to gather seafood and that NZ doesn't have are going to suddenly flock to these new reserves and add $millions to the local economy. We will soon have to make scuba diving a compulsory school subject so we can keep up with the demand for enough divers to go and spend their money in all the new reserves that were justified on that basis. 
No one ever considers the drop off in recreational fishing and charter businesses etc as that is always assumed to just carry on no matter how much of the prime fishing area is locked up. Life doesn't work like that! Make something harder, more expensive, less safe. less attractive and less people do it.
Marine reserves have their place but don't want to read BS justifications. Either argue them on their true merits or don't argue them.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote v8-coupe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 7:38pm
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Originally posted by Tagit Tagit wrote:

I love the way that every time a marine reserve is mentioned out comes the old argument thatthe millions of recreational divers that don't want to gather seafood and that NZ doesn't have are going to suddenly flock to these new reserves and add $millions to the local economy. We will soon have to make scuba diving a compulsory school subject so we can keep up with the demand for enough divers to go and spend their money in all the new reserves that were justified on that basis. 
No one ever considers the drop off in recreational fishing and charter businesses etc as that is always assumed to just carry on no matter how much of the prime fishing area is locked up. Life doesn't work like that! Make something harder, more expensive, less safe. less attractive and less people do it.
Marine reserves have their place but don't want to read BS justifications. Either argue them on their true merits or don't argue them.



Sheesh Dave.
Time for the new (T)ake (A)ll, (G)ive (I)t (T)o all NZers political party to be born.
Sign me up.
I am sure there are many more who would support you.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2018 at 8:16pm
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True Tagit. Look at Goat Island a natural freak show for the fish, never a reserve in the true sense. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Clifftastic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 8:46am
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The Environment Court is turning into a joke
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I love the way that every time a marine reserve is mentioned out comes the old argument thatthe millions of recreational divers that don't want to gather seafood and that NZ doesn't have are going to suddenly flock to these new reserves and add $millions to the local economy. 

Thats a bit like the Auckland cycle lanes.. "build it and they will come..."  and they do.. saw a cyclist on the local lane couple days ago.. no helmet thu.. thats 4 cyclists in 3 yrs now..including school start and afterschool, and morning and evening rush hrs.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 2:36pm
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Here is a very interesting opinion piece by Mike Hosking on so called on-line surveys etc. It is what is used for the basis of a lot of planning these days and is very flawed. This is the type of thing that would be used by Twig & Tweet to show how many people would use Marine Reserves etc. I have to also say that LegaSea and NZSFC have also been known to use these types of surveys, petitions as well to push their views. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12075688
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Stonefish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 3:56pm
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Originally posted by Marligator Marligator wrote:


Here is a very interesting opinion piece by Mike Hosking on so called on-line surveys etc. It is what is used for the basis of a lot of planning these days and is very flawed. This is the type of thing that would be used by Twig & Tweet to show how many people would use Marine Reserves etc. I have to also say that LegaSea and NZSFC have also been known to use these types of surveys, petitions as well to push their views. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12075688


Not trying to distract from the topic but that rant by Hosking is alot of crap, the survey he is talking about was run by a research company, people were asked to be involved and the sample was ensured to be representative to the Auckland population in terms of age, race, location, etc etc.
He’s trying to smear the result because he doesn’t like the result.

This is a quote from the research company:
“Respondents invited to take part in the survey were proportional to the Auckland population as per 2013 census, reflecting Age, Gender and Auckland Regions (Rodney, North, Central, West, East, South, Franklin).” and “Respondents didn’t know what the survey was on or for before completing the survey, removing any participation bias.””
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 4:24pm
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 Totally agree with Marlingator... an old example was the bird of the yr vote a few yrs back.. even thu had email confirmation think was a mayor.. waikato from memory  simply goty heap staff friends to vote for  (pukeko from memory ) as had a vested interest in the Forest in bird results.
 Another yr kakariki leaped to the top .. promotion from a Kakariki web site with forum members like this site.. except most where international.
 And these are are email confirmation...

If one happens to follow some of the herald and other  similar based 'surveys', just as hoskings says.. the 1st few days tend to follow commonsense... then once a concerned group organisation sees it, mass votes....all for 1 option.. 

 Just because a "research company" is commissioned to carry out a survey , doesnt mean it meats basic accepted requirements.. Sort of like chemical companies  commissioning "independent research" only to be sued for millions for some of the damage and misrepresentation yrs, even decades after... ie  tobacco...
 Also along the same lines.. rentals an P...leaded fuel, lets not forget the y2k bug... ALL by so called independent, research companies...
 

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 4:25pm
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OK Stonefish, fair call, but were the questions that were asked such that a fair and meaningful answer was obtained eg. "Q1 - Do you believe their should be dedicated cycleways in Auckland", the vast majority of people would probably say Yes. However if another question was also asked "Q2 - If you said yes to Q1 would you use dedicated cycleways instead of your car to get to work or go to the shop etc" I bet the vast majority of people would say no to Q2. The first question by itself would indicate the majority of people are in support of cycleways but the 2nd question which is the most important one from a planning cost effectiveness perspective shows that hardly anybody would use them.
Setting up trials and surveys correctly so you get meaningful results are extremely difficult. I know I have been involved in a number of scientific agricultural trials, plus seen the results of a number of so called scientific trials where the trial was set up such that they got the answer they wanted, didn't prove anything about the products effectiveness etc.
The point I am making with reference to Mike Hosking's article is that this type of survey/questionnaire is being used for all of these types of proposals.
 
There is a term for this type of things it is called pseudo-science  
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Stonefish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 4:55pm
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Yeah I don’t know the specfics of the survey, just read a couple of articles around it, but Hosking seems to be pushing his own agenda it that situation by trying to make it seem like an opt-in online survey. We see pseudoscience in the medical field all the time, a large part of our medical training is teaching us to critically analyse research papers.

Anyway, I’m pretty concerned regarding the potential loss of those reefs also, its a massive chunk of fishing area. I’d be interested seeing a map of the area.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote EarlyRiser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 5:18pm
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Google search from last years applications



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 6:29pm
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Will take a lot of divers to fill that zone up. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Marligator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2018 at 7:27pm
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The other thing that is not widely known is that the Motiti Is. iwi are wanting to create a 1 mile zone around Motiti which is exclusively for cultural food gathering i.e. only available to iwi.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Don18025 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2018 at 11:56am
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Great news for the BoP. 
I used to dive Astrolabe reef a lot......beautiful place.
As soon as I hear the date of the reserve opening I am heading down for a weekend's diving. Just add it on to my annual trip or two to the Knights.
Would like to see some more reserve areas in the inner Gulf.
These are assets for recreational fishing and preserving our marine flora and fauna.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coutta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2018 at 3:06pm
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Good on you for expressing your opinion Don. They are like a**e holes.  Every 
ones got one.  I'd imagine a lot of people who fish this area may differ with yours. 
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