Yachting New Zealand are seeking greater clarity around today's announcement that a marine mammal sanctuary will be implemented in Te Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands next month.
While supportive of efforts to look after marine mammals and other ocean life, concerns exist around the implementation of the sanctuary and the affect this will have on yachting and boating clubs as well as sailing events.
The sanctuary, which will come into force on December 15, 2021, introduces three key restrictions to the common marine area in Te Pēwhairangi / Bay of Islands:
- Vessels to maintain a 300m distance from all marine mammals
- People to keep out of the water within 300m of all marine mammals
- Vessels to keep to a 5-knot speed limit in two marine mammal safe zones
It's also Yachting New Zealand's understanding that clubs or organisations wanting to run events will need an exemption from the Department of Conservation.
Yachting New Zealand was one of 645 submissions lodged on the proposal, and cited concerns about the practicality of implementing restrictions on vessels and what this would mean for events.
"We support looking after marine mammals but we have concerns about what impact the sanctuary and restrictions will have on clubs and events in the Bay of Islands," Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. "There's a lot more we need to understand because, on the face of it, this is not ideal for Bay of Islands clubs or events like the CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week.
"We would be happy to work with the necessary bodies to make sure there are desirable outcomes for everyone."
You can find out more about the sanctuary here.