133. The marine reserve would represent gravel habitats of the North Otago / South Canterbury region that is not otherwise represented in any other proposed marine reserve.
134. The unstudied macroalgal communities to the south of the river are likely unique in the region and this MPA has been proposed to afford protection to these important biogenic habitats.
135. The foraging range of the little blue penguin indicates that the area around the Waitaki River mouth is an important habitat (that is, the foraging behavior of the penguins is an indicator for habitat and biodiversity in general). This proposal includes an area of the habitats used by the little blue penguins.
136. The extension option extends the protection for Hector’s dolphins and the area of the highest measured density for penguin foraging. It includes a greater area of nutrient rich northern flowing water from the Waitaki River.30 The marine reserve 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.
122. This proposed marine reserve is one of two proposed marine protected areas in the vicinity of the Waitaki River mouth (see area C – Waitaki Offshore). The proposed marine reserve extends south of the river mouth for 14.8 km (8 nm) and offshore 8 km (4.3 nm).
123. The main area proposed includes 88.4 km2, and the extension (in dashed lines) an additional 31.4 km2. Combined the proposed marine reserve accounts for 1.3% of the area of the Forum region, and 1.9% of the coastline.
124. As part of this proposal, the Forum is seeking your views on whether the northern boundary of the proposed marine reserve should be extended (as per the dashed area marked on the map. The extension would exclude the coastal area, avoiding the river mouth, Te Awakokomuka (fishing easement) and Korotuaheka.
125. As a marine reserve, the area would be no-take and all fishing would be prohibited.
126. Fishing vessels would be allowed to enter the area, so long as they had no gear used for the purpose of fishing in the water at the time. This is regardless as to whether they are carrying fish or not (and in accordance with existing fisheries regulations). No discharge to the MPA would be allowed, this includes (but not limited to) grey water, sewage and fish waste.