Whangateau Harbour Care Newsletter 1/2

March 2017
Edition 1 volume 2

Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan

Whangateau Harbour is notable for the range of relatively intact marine estuarine habitats contained within a relatively small area. These include a variety of reef types, sandy intertidal and subtidal seabed, muddy habitats, mangrove forests, a variety of algal and seagrass beds and saltmarsh. The variety and quality of marine and coastal habitats are reflected in the harbour’s ecological diversity and productivity. The harbour represents the best remaining example in Auckland of a coastal vegetation sequence running from kahikatea swamp forest to saltmarsh and estuarine flats. The harbour is of importance for juvenile fish including parore and trevally. It is also a shorebird area of importance and the harbour supports shellfish beds, although these are currently closed.
There are two possible scenarios for the harbour. The first is a Type 2 Marine Protected Area (MPA) which would restrict all commercial and recreational fishing methods that impact on the benthic habitat throughout the harbour including the entrance and Waikokopu Creek and a co-management area with mana whenua around Horseshoe Island. The second proposal is for a co-management plan with the community and mana whenua covering the entire harbour and the coastline from mean high water to one kilometre.
Our group is to discuss this at our next meeting on April 4th.

Dive for Debris at Ti Point Wharf

News 8

The Dive for Debris on March 4 yielded a large pile of rubbish.

Local Fire Brigade raft race on Whangateau Harbour

News 9

Photo Helen Parkes.
Sunday 19th March saw a collection of vessels vying for first place. The winners were Matakana Fire #1.

Sea Week Community guided snorkeling at Whangateau Harbour

News 10

News 11

Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) provided the free opportunity for 105 people to snorkel for free in the Whangateau Harbour over March. Participants arrived on the day and register where they were given wetsuits, masks, snorkels, fins and a snorkel guide. Event organiser Lorna Doogan says

“The Whangateau Harbour around Horseshoe Island is my favourite snorkel site in New Zealand.
Snorkeling into the mangroves feels like you are swimming through an underwater forest. The huge schools of parore and spotties around the sandstone reef are just breathtaking. Being able to share this with 105 people over two days was just amazing.”

Cockle monitoring in the harbour

News 12

In November 2016 students from Mahurangi College assisted Karen Tricklebank monitor the Lew’s Bay sites. Preliminary results show an increase in numbers but no increase in the >30mm size.
In March Students from Wentworth College visited the Marine Discovery Centre at the Leigh Marine Laboratory and sampled the beds around Horseshoe Island. There is still one line to be sampled and full results will be reported in due course.
The beds remain closed to shellfish gathering.

LogoIf you have any news, notices or views of interest please contact the HarbourCare Group secretary, Liz Allen by email: liz.allen18laika@gmail.com

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