Goal to preserve Hauraki Gulf
A stakeholders' group has been formed to help come up with a plan to halt the deterioration of the Hauraki Gulf marine environment.
The 14-member group brings together industry groups, conservationists, iwi and recreational users as part of the Sea Change project.
Hauraki Mayor John Tregidga championed the Sea Change project in his role as Hauraki Gulf forum chairman and said it was essential that work began.
"What we need to understand is that the Hauraki Gulf is continuing to deteriorate and we need to turn that around," he said.
The Sea Change catchment area stretches from Waihi in the south to Mangawhai in Northland and takes in Great Barrier Island, Mercury Island, Waitemata Harbour and the Firth of Thames.
"If we are serious about protecting or wanting to have a Hauraki Gulf we can be proud of and continue to use for the next generation, we must start turning around the negative."
Sea Change partnered with the Waikato Regional Council and Auckland Council who will foot the costs and collaborated with the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation.
Meetings were held last year with representatives from a range of Hauraki Gulf sector groups who appointed the 14-member stakeholder working group which included four iwi representatives and former Deloitte partner Nick Main as independent chair.
Mr Tregidga said the members would be asked to prioritise the issues and to find the solutions that would be widely acceptable to the group.
He said scientific evidence backed up claims from long-time users that the gulf had deteriorated with sedimentation, nitrates from farms and a huge population at the high tide mark some of the causes.
The first meeting was still weeks away but recreational fishing representative Alan Proctor said the gulf was under more pressure than ever before.