Sunday, May 19, 2024

New NIWA report delves into coastal marine recovery

New research on the impacts of extreme weather on coastal marine habitats in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay will help fishery managers plan for and respond to any future events, says Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Shane Jones.

A report released today on research by Niwa on behalf of Fisheries New Zealand has found evidence of the impacts on seafloor ecosystems from cyclones Hale and Gabrielle last year which caused widespread damage across the regions.

“The extent of the cyclones’ damage on land was clear to see. The research released today provides valuable insights into what has been happening under the water,” Mr Jones says.

“Marine ecosystems are complex and can be affected by factors including our activity on land, extreme weather events, and the effects of climate change.”

Scientists used a range of tools and techniques, including underwater cameras and satellite imagery to reveal what can’t be seen from the surface. This information will help fishery managers understand how fish stocks have fared and how they’re recovering, the Minister said.

“Sediment is a significant issue in these regions following the cyclones. While the report noted that some areas are already showing signs of recovery, it’s too soon to conclude how the fish stocks are doing and it will take more time to understand how these complex and interconnected ecosystems are recovering.”

“I want to acknowledge hapū, iwi, and communities for their resilience and for the important insights they’ve provided about the effects on their local fisheries,” Mr Jones says.

“My recent decision to reduce commercial and recreational rock lobster catch limits for the CRA3 fishery near Gisborne took a conservative approach because of my concerns about the impacts the cyclones had on the rock lobster population.”

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