Rāhui application gives new reef the chance to thrive
An application for a two-year rāhui (temporary closure) on fishing at a new artificial reef near Napier Port aims to allow local marine life to become established.
Two new artificial reefs were created in 2021 as part of the construction of Napier Port’s new wharf, Te Whiti / 6 Wharf. The reefs were constructed from limestone taken from a revetment wall which was dismantled as part of the new wharf build.
A rāhui on all fishing take would allow time for a biogenic habitat (a habitat created by plants and animals) to establish on the reef without the disturbance of fishing. A halt on fishing in the area would also allow the development of the new reef to be monitored, and for habitat enhancement projects to be undertaken.
Already, the reef is showing positive signs of marine life – juvenile kōura (crayfish) and kuku (green-lipped mussels) as well as fish species including blue cod, john dory, kingfish and snapper have been spotted on the new reef.
Mana whenua hapū o Ahuriri and the Mana Whenua Steering Komiti have requested the rāhui, with the support of Napier Port, LegaSea Hawke’s Bay, the Fisheries Liaison Group, local councils and the Department of Conservation. The proposed rāhui is named Te Rāhui o Moremore.
Napier Port Chief Executive Todd Dawson says, ‘We are proud to have worked alongside mana whenua hapū and LegaSea Hawke’s Bay to create these two new reefs. It makes sense to now pause fishing activity to give the reef the best chance of becoming a thriving habitat for fish and shellfish, which will benefit the wider Hawke’s Bay community for years to come.’
There are also plans in place to monitor the reef’s development and to seed mussel beds and kelp forests on the reef.
LegaSea Hawke’s Bay representative Wayne Bicknell compliments the collaboration between fishing groups, mana whenua and Napier Port on proposing the rāhui. ‘Everyone’s done a wonderful job in getting the new reef underway,’ he says. ‘There’s great excitement in the marine community about what we can learn from monitoring as the new reef establishes itself. It’s a first for Hawke’s Bay.’
Mana whenua representative Te Kaha Hawaikirangi explains the importance of the proposed rāhui: ‘A rāhui will allow mahinga kai and taonga species to become established in the reef. We’ll also use the opportunity to enhance the reef habitat by installing tī kōuka spat ropes to seed the reef with kuku and kelp. These are species that occur naturally in the water column over the new reef, and the spat roles will help them to become established more quickly.’
The creation of the reefs was the result of a successful and ongoing partnership between Napier Port and LegaSea Hawke’s Bay, a group of recreational fishers dedicated to building Hawke’s Bay’s fish stock, and the relocation of the limestone boulders was included as part of the new wharf’s resource consent.
The rāhui is requested for the reef located approximately 6 kilometres northeast of the port.
The Ministry of Primary Industries is accepting submissions on the proposed rāhui until 27 February 2023, at FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nz
Senior Communications Adviser, Napier Port
Phone: 027 235 6125
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