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Why do we need to grow more fish in the sea? Surely theres plenty of fish out there?

As the 2016 Herald article points out, the Snapper Area 1 bag limit has gone from 30 fish in 1985 to 7 in 2014. Scallop fisheries are now closed in many areas, and Blue Cod limits have been cut from 12 in 1985 to 2 in 2011. The fishing population of Aotearoa continues to grow. A trending picture is forming. Do we just want to sit back and keep catching until we are told. like those in US Gulf of Mexico, that now you can fish on just 9 days a year with a daily bag limit of just two snapper?

But now that we have the Open Ocean Mussel Farm to fish on, surely theres no need for an Opotiki Community Reef?

Opotiki being a low socio economic town has many fishers with older boats and motors. They appreciate the significant fuel savings to be had by fishing close to the new Harbor Entrance.

In southerly winds, sea conditions favor being in close to the shoreline rather being out on the more exposed Mussel Farm site.
Jet ski fishers often prefer the calmer inshore conditions too.

If there were a novo virus outbreak (as as happened recently in Queenstown) but on the mussel farm, or marine incident, it is uncertain if a temporary closure might be enacted. 

A Community Reef acts as a kind of Paataka Kai, making a greater variety of health promoting sea food available when needed.

But who owns and manages a Community Reef?

Just as the Opotiki Picture Theatre and Museum are run by volunteers and managed by a Charitable Trust, so to is the Community Reef an asset that will be managed by up to 9 trustees from Opotiki Community, who can be approached by Opotiki citizens,  and is open to all to volunteers to grow it for the Opotiki Community.  

Can we catch more snapper in the Community Reef, especially as we have helped to grow them?

No. Catch limits still come under Ministry of Fisheries recreational rules and regulations, but we could be catching a much greater number of species that we currently do not catch. Homes for octopus are well known overseas, crayhavens were an early module design deployed.  Even hapuka were recorded caught in the Community Reef area in earlier days. 

Why aren't Community Reefs set up all over the country?

The concept of Marine Reserves took many decades of persistence by a few marine scientists  before the first one at Leigh, Goat Island,  was formerly established. They are now an established part of marine conservation efforts.

Aren't the Quota Management System  (QMS) and Marine Reserves enough to preserve the fisheries for future generations?

The QMS is a mathematical model set up to manage fish stocks. Snapper stocks in SNA1 are now managed at just 24% of their historical levels. 
You can't eat anything out of a Marine Reserves and the 'spill over' population effect of Reserves has yet to be proven. 

What is unique about a Community Reef concept?

A Community Reef allows for people to make a personalised connection with their local marine environment, to have closer connection with the reef management and feel they are making a difference for marine life and for future generations.

You can still fish whereever you want, in fact we hope you keep exploring and finding your own special spots all over the Bay of Plenty, but a Community Reef helps grow the sense of 'community sharing'.

What are the financial benefits of developing a community reef?

Just as the Motu Trails cycleways reportedly bring financial benfits to the town, so to can reef developments.

Overseas studies often cite cost/benefits ratios in the range of modest 1 to 10 returns, but sometimes cited are higher 1:100 ratios.  That is for every dollar invested in a reef, $10 or $100 will come back to the community, year on year. A proposed Wellington reef was to be built with a calculated 1:24  cost/benefit ratio.

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