SEA ā Moana
The appeal of the Northland Regional Council Regional Plan
An appeal has been lodged by Forest & Bird and the Bay of Islands (BOI) Marine Park against the Northland Regional Council (NRC) Regional Plan. Forest & Bird and the Bay of Islands Marine Park are seeking to implement stronger methods of control over SEAs across Te Rohe o Ngātiwai.
SEAs are ‘significant ecological areas’ under the Resource Management Act. Like SNAs (ki uta – on land), SEAs are SNAs ki tai (on the moana).
The NRC Regional Plan have identified SEAs across our rohe (just like SNAs). These SEAs are different to existing fisheries regulations and will if successfully appealed be controlled by regional councils.
Forest & Bird and BOI Marine Park seek to implement SEAs from Ōtāmure/ Pareapareā in the south to Rākaumangamanga. Further restrictions are sought into the Bay of Islands also.
The SEAs go out past the 12 nautical mile point. This is much broader than current council jurisdiction.
The appeals aim to regulate fisheries under the Resource Management Act (RMA) by local councils. Councils have no capacity to manage fishing or fisheries enforcement. A significant concern is the RMA lacks flexibility for tangata whenua control.
The appeals are based on protection of small inshore areas with high biodiversity values, but the SEA restrictions proposed by Forest and Bird and BOI Marine Park are extensive.
Te Uri o Hikihiki have joined the appeal seeking to have fisheries restrictions put in place to support a rāhui tapu at Mimiwhangata. We are aware that currently through the RMA there is a lack of flexibility for tangata whenua control.
Ngāti Manuhiri and Patuharakeke have also joined the appeal.
Ngātiwai Trust Board joined the hearings:
- NTB supports the protection of biodiversity, but needs to be assured the extent of the proposed constraints on fishing are appropriate.
- NTB believe there are some internal hui, wānanga that need to occur to ensure all hapū with interests in the SEA areas with contributions from Ngātiwai iwi whānui and that those in the SEA rāhui area are engaged and empowered to contribute in the development and implementation.
- NTB costs for involvement in the hearings are covered.
While the current appeals for SEAs only apply to our part of Tai Tokerau, they have the potential to be applied around the rest of the region and the rest of the country.