Summer is nearly here and for those living near or visiting the Kāpiti Coast for activities, it is important to remember the rules for enjoying the marine reserve.
The Kāpiti Marine Reserve is a special place for everyone to experience. In all of New Zealand’s marine reserves, you can swim, sail, dive, snorkel, go boating, take photographs, and kayak. In fact, the only major difference between a marine reserve and other waters is that everything within the marine reserve is protected.
The Kāpiti Coast Marine Reserve is located between Paraparaumu and Waikanae beaches and Kāpiti Island. It also touches the mainland at the Waikanae River mouth.
From Waikanae beach looking out to sea there are yellow triangles or markers indicating the boundary of the reserve. There are also yellow markers on the shore and island.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fisheries compliance district team leader, Aaron Mendoza says that from the shore it can sometimes look as if commercial fishing vessels are fishing in the reserve.
"But just because they are in the reserve doesn't necessarily mean they are fishing. The rules allow for commercial fishing boats to transit through the marine reserve. Commercial fishing vessels can also shelter from the weather close to Kāpiti Island and within the marine reserve depending on the direction of the wind.
"We keep a close eye on commercial fishing vessels through our electronic monitoring system which tracks their position in near real time. The system automatically generates an alert for us whenever any commercial fishing vessel crosses the border into a marine reserve.
"We can monitor what they are doing, including the speed of movement of the vessels, and that’s a strong indicator of whether fishing is taking place."
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for managing the reserve.
DOC marine reserve ranger, Leon Berard says that marine reserves allow the recovery of marine life by reducing human impacts.
"All features in reserves are protected," says Leon, "from the fish to the seabed. There are over 3 times as many blue cod in Kāpiti Marine Reserve compared to surrounding waters, and the fish inside are bigger.
"The benefits of marine reserves spill over to the surrounding area, so it is in the interest of divers and fishers to respect reserves and report illegal activity."
To help protect Kāpiti's marine life inside the reserve, remember:
- no fishing of any kind, either from a boat or from shore
- no damage to or taking of natural things, including shellfish, seaweed, and shells
- no littering, polluting, or discharge of toxic substances
- no interference with marine life (for example, feeding fish) this disrupts natural behaviour.
Penalties for failure to comply under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 include; confiscation of equipment, vessels or vehicles, fines, and imprisonment.
If you see people conducting illegal activities in the marine reserve, call DOC HOTline on 0800 36 24 68.
If you have concerns about commercial fishing vessels. Call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24).
Kāpiti Marine Reserve brochure – Department of Conservation [PDF, 1.61MB]