Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash will seek a briefing on consultation and engagement with Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē locals who’ve expressed concern over the use of heavy machinery to harvest mussel spat.
Te Ao news informed the Minister in Parliament today that Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē locals had imposed a rāhui on vehicles entering the area in a desperate effort to protect the beach and marine life from irreparable damage.
Local fisherman Pataua Te Pania says residents approached the matter in a respectful way and the entire focus was the protection of the shoreline near Ahipara.
"I had a quick chat with them and said the machinery is not allowed down this side there's gonna be no compromise about that at all and they were fine with that. I said look I've got no issue with them coming down with their trucks and trailers and just hand gathering".
Locals welcomed anyone who were willing to use traditional hand gathering techniques as they had observed a reduction on local marine life stocks since mass harvesting had begun.
Minister Nash stated, “When I increased the TACC the Total Allowable Commercial Catch for Spat last year what I did say is it had to be done in a way that was sensitive to the environment of 90 mile beach I am aware that my officials have been in touch with both parties and I was aware ongoing conversations were being had but if it has reached an impasse like that then I need to get across about what is going on and where the solutions are.”
Locals say they never intended to cause issues for anyone in the industry but the lack of action from the Fisheries Ministry had forced them to take drastic measures to protect 90 Mile Beach and it's' marine life.