This year the focus has been on consultation and drafting of the proposed Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan. This effort culminated in the Guardians' presenting the proposed Plan to the Environment Southland Council on December 16th, on behalf of the agencies represented on the steering group.
Keeping Marine Pests out of Fiordland Update #6
Consultation with Fiordland Marine Area users
From late 2014 a number of key stakeholders have been informally consulted in regards to the proposed Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan. The aim of this informal consultation was to integrate stakeholder feedback into the Proposal. Members of the Steering Group have met with; the Oraka/Aparima Runaka together with the other three southern Kai Tahu runaka, members of commercial fishing companies, the CRAY 8 management committee and CRAY 8 fishermen, small operators involved with the Blue Cod fishery in Fiordland, the Paua 5A Management Advisory Committee, Cruise ship companies, local tourist operators and also recreational fishers, divers and hunters.
Fiordland is regarded as a globally significant area for brachiopods, with diverse and abundant brachiopod fauna
found in shallow waters (Photograph taken by Richard Kinsey, Department of Conservation).
In total more than 600 individuals and organisations have been consulted over the past year through regular updates and informal meetings with key stakeholders. We'd like to thank everyone who got involved and provided us with feedback.
It was encouraging that the vast majority of those spoken to agreed that we need a more proactive means of protecting Fiordland from marine pests. We received a lot of very constructive and valuable feedback about the details of the Plan, which has been considered and incorporated into the draft Plan.
The major concerns that arose from these discussions were regarding the management of vessels arriving to Fiordland from other ports within New Zealand, and that the Fiordland Marine Area is of national importance.
Translocation of Kina to from Giblet and Entry Islands to Sunday Cove as a part of the Undaria incursion program
in Breaksea Sound. Kina is used to reduce seaweed growth to aid diver searching while looking for Undaria
Meeting the pathway plan provisions
Before Environment Southland can make a regional pathway management plan, the regional council needs to be satisfied that the proposed plan and the process align with certain Biosecurity Act provisions and the National Policy Direction for pest management. A cost benefits analysis is one of the major components of this process as it's very important to justify that the benefits of a pathways plan for Fiordland greatly outweigh its costs.
Jen Brunton (MPI) checks a mooring line for
marine pests in Luncheon Cove, Dusky Sound.
We had an economist conduct the analysis, and although it is very difficult to put a monetary value on the values of the Fiordland Marine Area, the analysis found that there were some financial benefits to having a pest pathways plan in place to address marine biosecurity issues. However, the ratio would be much greater if the difficult to quantify non-economic values were factored in. The Fiordland Marine Area and its outstanding biodiversity is held in high esteem locally, nationally and internationally, which indicates that a very significant effort to keep marine pests out is not only justified but necessary.
Assessment of bilge-water as a biosecurity risk
In recent years, it has become apparent that bilge water poses some biosecurity risk. Preliminary research by the Cawthron Institute found that a number of motorboats and yachts carried reasonable quantities of bilge water, and 13 different taxonomic groups were identified from collected bilge water samples. Furthermore, the study found that certain introduced bryozoans and ascidians can survive for three days in a bilge water system and survive the pumping process. Although it seems clear that bilge water is a potential biosecurity risk to Fiordland, we have decided that it will not be a part of the clean vessel, gear and residual seawater standards due to the difficulty to assess. Instead, we propose to promote guidelines for bilge water management best practice for Fiordland. These will be set out in the final proposal document for you to view and comment on.
Where to from here?
On 16 December 2015 the Steering Group and Fiordland Marine Guardians presented a final draft Proposal to Environment Southland councillors. This presentation was seeking a recommendation to take the Plan to the first council meeting of 2016 where approval would be sought to formally notify it. The recommendation was given, and we will present the proposal in its final form at the council meeting in February next year. If the plan is formally notified, we welcome everyone to submit in support or against the proposal and its components, and you will have a chance to view the proposal in its entirety including the cost benefits analysis.
Again, thank you for all of your feedback throughout this process and on behalf of the Steering group have a great Christmas and New Year!
Our Steering Group contact is Shaun Cunningham