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.
250. Alternative 2 consists of two parts (see figure 22, 24, and 27): A marine reserve MPA over the head of the Papanui Canyon, including part of the bryozoan bed (H); and a Type 2 MPA covering the area of bryozoan bed identified as ‘most abundant’ (G).
251. Alternative 2 differs from Alternative 1 in that it would protect only one canyon, and would protect a smaller area of the known extent of the bryozoan beds and surrounding area. The type of fisheries restrictions included within the type 2 MPA area are also different compared to Alternative 1.
252. As a marine reserve, the area (H) would be protected as a no-take marine reserve where all fishing would be prohibited.
253. The Type 2 MPA (G) includes fishing restrictions that would apply over the greatest known extent of the bryozoan bed, (see the area shown in darker grey in Figure 20) and provide for commercial set netting to still be undertaken as it has done for many years.
254. The fisheries restrictions would prohibit:
• bottom trawling • dredging; and • Danish seining.
255. Other commercial and recreational fishing would still be permitted. Together the marine reserve and fisheries restrictions proposed as Alternative 2 covers an area of 258 km2 and account for 2.9% of the Forum region, with 138 km2 of this area being bryozoan bed, and the marine reserve alone accounting for 106 km2 and 1.2% of the region. Both areas combined will protect at least 213 km2 and the majority of the bryozoan bed.