ASR - A Global Partner for the Sustainable Management of Coastal and Marine Resources

Northland Region

Location: Northland Region, New Zealand

Type of Project: Physical, Biological and Ecological Assessment

Client: Northland Regional Council, New Zealand

ASR Projects- Northland Region

Clockwise from left: Sites that were studied in the Northland Region, An existing oyster farm in Whangarei Harbour and the shell hash/pebbly substrate of the Mangonui Harbour AMA.

Project Overview:

ASR surveyed nineteen (19) "potential" Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) in the Northland Region. The sites, ranging in size from 2.5 to 355 hectares, were quantitatively surveyed for a first order biological study. The focus of the study was to identify dominant species and species boundaries within each AMA, assess potential environmental impacts of each proposed aquaculture technique and to make recommendations on the boundary size of each AMA.

Project Outcomes:

Of the locations surveyed, ASR determined that the biological habitats were typical of estuarine and coastal systems of Northland, albeit with varying degrees of intactness. For the majority of sites surveyed, species assemblages were common and not considered endangered or rare. ASR recommended that eighteen (18) of the AMAs be considered for further assessment with the Parengarenga Harbour intertidal AMA being the exception due to the extensive and sensitive eelgrass (Zostrea spp.) habitat within the area.

ASR also recommended that in order to accurately assess environmental impacts within each AMA, each site would require a thorough environmental assessment before being deemed suitable for aquaculture activities. Assessments of this nature will help determine food and waste pathways and aid in the determination of adverse environmental impacts.

ASR also strongly recommended that assessment of the effects of each farm should be based on the carrying capacity of the regional ecological system, rather than on the shellfish carrying capacity of a particular farm. This is an important difference to methods previously used for aquaculture assessments throughout New Zealand.

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