'State of the Gulf' 
Friday, October 24, 2014 at 1:59PM
Bill Barclay

The Gulf Forum has released it 2014 'State of the Gulf' Report ("Popular" version!) and it makes very interesting reading. And here is the full report.

For a more readable summary, here is the Press Release that accompanied it.

Just to counter the absolute codswollop contained in the HH report on 17 October headed up 'Gulf Woes Challenge for Scientists', just take a look at some of the statements from the Press Release. You would have to believe that the HH article was a deliberate Fed inspired piece designed to counter the effects of the 'State of the Gulf' report'. The so-called 'scientist' quoted is totally unknown to Mike Joy from Massey - the acknowledged expert in the field of water quality.

Here are some extracts from the 'State of the Gulf' press release:

"The three-yearly assessment of the Hauraki Gulf/ Tikapa Moana notes a significant – and in some cases widening – gap between current and desired states.

Stocks of popular fish species are sustainably managed, but typically at the lowest acceptable target level under fisheries legislation. Snapper numbers are thought to be at 19 per cent of original biomass and legal-sized crayfish are managed at one fifth their levels in 1945." And:

"The 2014 report finds already high levels of nitrogen continuing to increase in the Gulf, mainly from the intensively farmed Hauraki Plains. It also notes long term studies linking elevated nutrient levels to seasonal sags in oxygen in the Firth of Thames water column." And:

"Fierce competition between sectors and an emphasis on utilisation in the short term is stalling a rebuild of fish stocks to levels associated with better economic returns and environmental health.

Monitoring shows estuaries and harbours around the Gulf are becoming muddier, suggesting land use controls are lagging behind council obligations and community expectations." And:

"The report notes aquaculture could expand significantly in the Gulf, with consequences for additional nitrogen loads, if designated fish farms are developed. Current applications for shellfish farming, which come off hold at the end of this year, would, if consented, double the area in production and alter the natural character of some parts of the Gulf."

This all speaks for itself. There are plenty of good intentions expressed, and some hang-wringing by Chair John Tregidga, but there is little to get excited about in regard to the effectiveness of measures being taken to bring some order to the situation. The resistance to to the extension or establishment of marine reserves throughout the Gulf - but particularly north of Waiheke is symptomatic of the "I'm alright Jack" attitude of the majority of recreational fishing interests. 

But what is of greatest concern is the continued failure to control farming practices that are producing the destructive increase in nitrogen levels - simply disgraceful, and a reflection of 'hear no evil, see no evil' attitude of the majority of the dairy industry.   

And isn't is strange that the the two sectors crossover to such an extent - greed being the common denominator!

 

 

Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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