Boaties looking to take advantage of the upcoming long weekend are reminded to not fish around the three protected reefs that make up the Motiti Protection Area.
This is the first summer the three reefs off the coast of Motiti Island have been closed to all fishing since the Environment Court ruling last April. With two long weekends in a row providing ample time to get out on the water, Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff would like to remind fishers to please steer clear of the protected areas.
Regional Council General Manager of Regulatory Services Sarah Omundsen said since the new rules came into force last August, the only people Regional Council staff had encountered fishing illegally had been from out of town.
“On the days we have been out, we’ve only found a small number of people fishing where they shouldn’t be,” she said.
“All of these people were from outside our region and were very apologetic once they had the rules explained to them. While we are pleased to find that none have been locals, we would like to reiterate that there is a fishing ban on the three protected reefs.”
“For those who are fishing outside of these areas, it’s important to take only what you need for a feed, not the freezer. It’s on all of us to stick to the rules and protect our fisheries for the future,” she said.
Dive Zone Manager, Tony Plank, said they have noticed things are definitely quieter with virtually no other boats in the Motiti area when they are.
“I think it is too early to see a visual difference in the fish life in the areas, but we have enjoyed diving these areas when the weather and our customer experience levels, especially Astrolabe reef, allow,” he said.
The Motiti Protection Area came into force last August in order to protect the three reef systems near Motiti Island. Regional Council, iwi and research partners will be monitoring the reef habitats over summer to build our understanding of how the protection measures are working.
Below: Map of the three areas making up the Motiti Protection Area.