Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson has officially opened yesterday (Aug. 28th) the country’s newest marine reserve near Warkworth, north of Auckland.
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve covers approximately 400 hectares of the northern coast of the Tāwharanui Peninsula near Kawau Island.
It will replace the Tāwharanui Marine Park. The marine reserve has a straighter, clearer boundary than the marine park and will be around 16 hectares larger.
““Tāwharanui is a remarkable coastal area renowned for its beauty and unique geology and is incredibly popular for swimming and snorkelling,” says Ms Wilkinson.
“The area covered by the marine reserve has been a no take fishing zone for 30 years. More than 50 species of fish have been recorded in the reserve area and schools of red moki, blue maomao, red mullet, bigeye and koheru are commonly seen.
“The diversity of fish, other marine life and extensive reefs make Tāwharanui an ideal site for scientific research.
“It clearly meets the criteria for a marine reserve and the government was pleased to approve the Auckland Regional Council’s application to give the area this status.”
Marine reserves protect areas containing underwater scenery, natural features and marine life of such significance that their continued preservation is in the national interest.
Tāwharanui is New Zealand’s 34th marine reserve. The first – Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) – was established in 1975, near Leigh.
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve legally comes into effect on September 15.
Marine Reserves are established under the Marine Reserves Act 1971. The purpose of the Act is to preserve, as marine reserves, for the scientific study of marine life, areas of New Zealand that contain underwater scenery, natural features, or marine life of such significance that their continued preservation is in the national interest.
All marine life in a marine reserve is protected and fishing and the removal or disturbance of any living or non-living marine resource is prohibited, except as necessary for permitted monitoring or research.
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve is the 6th marine reserve in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The others are Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) Marine Reserve covering 500 hectares of the inner reaches of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Te Matuku Marine Reserve (690 hectares) on Waiheke Island. Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve (980 hectares) south of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) (547 hectares) near Leigh. Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve (900 hectares) near Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula.