227. This area is one of only two areas where canyons extend substantially within the 12nm territorial sea on the east coast of the South Island, and the only place where this happens in the Forum region. The canyons are biologically diverse, providing habitats for brittle stars, sea stars, gastropods, bivalves, shrimps, hermit crabs, bryozoans, sponges and quill worms, amongst others. The canyons are hotspots for sea birds and whales including Long Finned pilot whales and Sperm whales. The canyons extend out some distance into the deeper water with correspondingly different habitats, but the extent of the canyons beyond 12nm is outside of the Forum’s jurisdiction.
228. The bryozoan beds (identified on the site map in grey) are a major biogenic habitat that has been identified off the Otago Peninsula. Biogenic habitats such as these create habitat for diverse invertebrate communities (e.g. sponges, anemones, worms, crabs, snails, sea stars, and sea squirts). Bryozoan habitats can significantly and positively influence survival of these invertebrates.
235. To protect the values of this area we are presenting alternatives for you to consider and comment on. 236. The alternatives incorporate a Type 1 MPA (no take marine reserve) and another marine protected area (with various fisheries restrictions). 237. The alternatives are:
• Alternative 1: Includes a marine reserve over Saunders Canyon and the central part of the bryozoan beds (F – Saunders Canyon) and a Type 2 MPA with various fishing restrictions to protect the remaining bryozoan beds, including Papanui Canyon (E – Bryozoan Bed). See below for descriptions of the habitats and reasons for proposing this alternative.
• Alternative 2: includes a marine reserve over Papanui Canyon (H – Papanui Canyon), combined with fishing restrictions covering the central part of the bryozoan beds (G – Bryozoan Bed). See below for descriptions of the habitats and reasons for proposing this alternative.
238. Alternative 1 consists of two parts (see figure 21, 23 and 26): A marine reserve over the head of the Saunders Canyon including part of the bryozoan bed (F); and a Type 2 MPA covering the majority of the identified bryozoan bed, the head of Papanui Canyon and an area of the plateau surrounding the canyons (E).
239. As a marine reserve, the area (F) would be protected as a no-take marine reserve, with all fishing prohibited
240. The type 2 MPA (E) would include fisheries restrictions that would prohibit:
• dredging • all set netting; and • all trawling • purse seining. • danish seining
241. The Type 2 MPA would continue to allow potting and line fishing, both commercial and recreational.
242. Together, both marine protected areas (F and E) for Alternative 1 cover an area of 618 km2 and account for 6.9% of the Forum region. The marine reserve on its own would account for 186 km2 and 2.1% of the region.