More than 100 tonnes of caulerpa washed up in this Great Barrier Island Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo / Sid Ware / Ministry for Primary Industries

Authorities Extend Caulerpa Control Measures

More than 100 tonnes of caulerpa washed up in this Great Barrier Island Bay after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo / Sid Ware / Ministry for Primary Industries / FILE

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has extended the exotic Caulerpa Controlled Area Notices at Aotea, Ahuahu and Te Rāwhiti Inlet until 30 September 2024.

MPI says the extensions will provide more time for discussions on long-term management plans. Anchoring without a permit will remain prohibited in all Controlled Area Notice (CAN) zones, with exceptions only in emergencies or specific parts of Port Fitzroy.

Limited fishing activities like line fishing, drift fishing, spearfishing, and hand gathering are permitted at Aotea and Ahuahu, while Te Rāwhiti’s CAN zone enforces a total fishing ban. Users of any equipment within these zones are required to inspect and clean gear of any Caulerpa to prevent its spread.

The decision follows a controversy revealed last month by AoteaGBI.news, where it was found MPI permitted commercial fishing within the Controlled Area Notices (CANs) without public notification. MPI said while the permits were legal, community consultation was lacking.

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Local commercial fishers on Aotea comply with tight regulations, including not transporting their vessels to the mainland to minimize environmental risks with spreading the seaweed.

Conversely, earlier this month, Caulerpa was found near Leigh on the mainland, close to the home port of a commercial vessel permitted to fish in the CAN area on Aotea.

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MPI stated it was impossible to determine who was responsible for the Caulerpa in Leigh.

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