165. The site covers an area that is known to be important for little blue penguins and Hector’s dolphins; the known foraging range of the little blue penguin from the Oamaru colony includes the area around the Waitaki River mouth and to the north of the mouth. The presence of Hectors dolphins, penguins and other seabirds suggests that there are prey species and important habitats in the area. The restrictions would protect important habitat for these species, reduce the potential for incidental fisheries captures, and help maintain the rich diversity of large animals that utilise the area.
167. The seaward boundary was drawn at 10 km (5.4 nm) to avoid displacing trawl fishery effort, which is likely to reduce its effectiveness in protecting the habitat of seabirds and dolphins. If protection of the known foraging habitat of seabirds and dolphins was to be maximised, the proposed MPA would be extended to the 12 nm limit. Some Forum members proposed that the boundary be extended to the 12 nm limit as a Type 2 marine protected area in order to provide protection for the foraging habitat of dolphins and seabirds and to represent the gradient across the Forum region.
155. This proposed marine protected area is one of two proposed near the Waitaki River mouth and offshore from it (see area B – Waitaki Coastal). The proposed marine protected area extends from 2 km (1.1 nm) south of the river mouth and north for approximately 15 km (8.1). It extends offshore approximately 10 km (5.4 nm).
156. The proposed marine protected area is separated into a main area and a small extension over the river mouth. The main area proposed covers 224 km2, and the extension (shown by dashed lines) an additional 10.5 km2. Combined, the proposed marine protected area accounts for 2.6% of the Forum region, and 2.5% of the Forum region coastline.
157. The area is proposed to be protected by various fisheries restrictions, banning:
• all trawling • all dredging
• Danish seining • all set netting
158. Other forms of commercial fishing would be permitted. The proposal would not restrict recreational fishing, such as whitebaiting and line fishing for salmon.
159. This package of fishing restrictions is proposed to allow for the maintenance and recovery of the biodiversity of the area, by prohibiting bottom impacting methods and reducing fishing effects on the ecosystem, natural species composition and trophic linkages.
160. There are wāhi tapu located on the coast and the recovery of koiwi and other cultural artifacts by Kāi Tahu shall not be impacted by this proposal.