Dredged to death

Fridays closure of the last two tipa / scallop beds in Aotearoa / New zealand will mark an historic moment for our fisheries. It signals the collapse of more than a fishery but an entire ecosystem. 

The last commercial mussel was dredged out of the Hauraki Gulf in 1966, after 56 years there are no signs of recovery. We don’t yet know what the fate will be for tipa. The fishery at the top of the South Island has been closed since 2017. If the tipa beds do not recover it will be the best evidence of ecocide in Aotearoa / New Zealand this century.

We need to change our ways. Both recreational and commercial dredging must be banned as per the Hauraki Gulf 2017 marine spatial plan that the government has still not acted on. These fishing methods damage the habitat that the animals grow in.

The result is:

  • Dead and damaged non target species and juvenile tipa
  • Lost biodiversity and water clearing animals
  • Lost habitats for fish especially juvenile fish
  • Long term changes to seafloor chemistry

The same impacts are created by other bottom impact fishing methods like bottom trawling and Danish seining which were also to be banned in the marine spatial plan. Short term fisheries closures are not good enough, we need a total ban on these methods.

Central government management actions to date have been irresponsible. Auckland Council did not take action when it was asked.

If the tipa beds do not recover naturally who will pay to restore them?