Save Mercury Bay
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A mussel spat catching farm currently being proposed by Ohinau Marine Farms off the shore of Whauwhau Beach in Mercury Bay. The applicants propose the establishment of a large spat catching facility the size of 30 rugby fields that will be 2 kilometres in length.
The spat farm will be an unsightly barrier in the middle of the Bay, visible from many surrounding beaches, with screw anchors being embedded in the sea bed anchoring lines extending to the surface attached to buoys and backbone lines.
It is important to preserve Mercury Bay - one of New Zealand’s most pristine areas, with untouched beaches and native bush. It stretches from Hotwater Beach to Matapaua Bay and is home to popular tourist locations include Buffalo Beach, Wharekaho, Ferry Landing, Shakespeare Cliff, Lonely Bay, Flaxmill Bay, Cooks Beach, Purangi Estuary, Cathedral Cove, Hahei, and Hot Water Beach.
The area is widely known for its boating and yachting. With the nearby presence of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve, large varieties of marine species can be found in the area and it is a popular location for pods of Orca, dolphins and whales who migrate through the bay.
We think opposing the proposed spat farm is vital because it will:
1.Degrade of an area of outstanding natural beauty: The coastline adjacent to the proposed mussel spat farm has proposed overlays under the Thames Coromandel District Plan of "Outstanding Natural Features and Landscapes", "High Natural Character" "Outstanding Natural Character" and we agree. It is incongruous to have such high classifications placed upon such a valued stretch of Coromandel's coastline but for the ocean directly adjacent to it to allow for an industrial activity such as a mussel spat farm.
2. Adversely affect marine mammals and the natural environment: The proposed mussel spat farm will have potentially significant negative effects on the natural environment. New Zealand has only 200 Orca and they are regular visitors to Mercury Bay. Other marine mammals such as dolphins, seals, and several types of whales also frequent the bay. The mussel spat farm will have a 2km long wall of ropes hanging from the surface which risks these mammals becoming entangled in them and dying. The ropes will also affect their migration through the bay and feeding patterns.
3. Present significant biological risks: Of particular concern are unwanted organisms such as the fan worm which has taken hold in the Firth of Thames as well as other invasive species such Undaria (invasive seaweed) which are at risk of being introduced into Mercury Bay by the transportation of equipment used in the mussel farm back and forth from the Firth of Thames.
4. Privatise public recreational space:Mercury Bay is a treasure which is enjoyed by all New Zealanders. It is an inappropriate location for a mussel spat farm as it will have measurable negative effects on how all use the bay for recreational activities such as sailing, fishing, sight-seeing and safe passage.
5. Impact tourism: The Coromandel’s stunning natural beauty is recognised around the world with scores of tourists flocking to attractions such as Cathedral Cove, Hotwater Beach, New Chums among many other beaches. Destination Coromandel Trust spends approximately $1 million on promoting the Coromandel Tourism Brand. The location of the proposed spat farm within Mercury Bay – one of the Coromandel’s most popular areas will degrade the historic identity of the area and impact smaller local tourist operators.
Please lend your support by opposing spat farm and sign the petition today. For more information visit the Save Mercury Bay Facebook page https://bit.ly/35dhlfR
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