Hundreds of Trevally Shelter in the Shade

Hiding in the shade of the Omaha jetty floating pontoon this afternoon were hundreds of trevally of all sizes. They were accompanied by smaller numbers of parore and mullet, all station-keeping under the pontoon in the outgoing current.


The water was beautifully clear about two hours after high tide, as there had been no rain and little wind for several days, the water offshore is really clear at present, and the vast numbers of cockles in the harbour would have finally “polished” the water of any remaining plankton and sediment.

I have seen trevally like this under the pontoon before, but they have usually stayed only a couple of days before moving on. But when they are there they are a lovely sight.

Today I just held my Go Pro camera in the water over the side of the pontoon, but it would be great to snorkel quietly over to the pontoon and take a closer look.


  1. Nice

  2. Gae Spencer says:

    Looks beautiful. Was this before or after you climbed over the fence with Dune protection signs on, through the white cliffs where there is considerable erosion and along the unstable bank?

    Sent from my iPad


    • Roger Grace says:

      After. We did not walk on the eroding bit. Where we walked was stable with firm vegetation. Were you really concerned we might destabilise the eroding bank even though we were nowhere near it, or was it more that you did not like us “invading your privacy” (which you are not entitled to) as we walked along a public reserve which happened to be in front of your view to the harbour?

  3. Simon Demler says:

    Looks awesome. Interested in your comment on the cockles – do you think they are recovering from the more recent die back?

    • Roger Grace says:

      The cockle die-back earlier this year was much less severe than the massive problem in 2009. It will probably not have a great impact on the recovery which was happening in the smaller size groups. Still anticipating that by the time this closure comes off there should be good numbers of cockles above 30mm length. The concern now is how to avoid a “lolly scramble” effect when the closure comes off. A few weeks of feverish cockle-gathering could undo all the good gains of the 6 years of closure if things aren’t kept under better control, especially as most cockle beds closer to Auckland are either depleted or closed.

      • Simon Demler says:

        Good news about the cockle beds. I imagine that this will result in an increase in water quality within the harbour. Is the Leigh laboratory measuring the metrics associated with the cockle beds i.e. clarity, pH etc…

        Perhaps we can encourage MAF to put in a localised quota to avoid the “lolly scramble” effect or perhaps even lobby for a small marine reserve around horse shoe island?

  4. Roger Grace says:

    Leigh Lab is not measuring the cockle beds or water quality. Auckland Council does monthly measurements of some aspects of water quality, sampling in the harbour entrance from a helicopter. Whangateau Harbour Care and Mahurangi College do regular cockle monitoring at two sites in the harbour, and MPI and others do cockle sampling too.

    Before the 2009 cockle die-off we got up to 15 metres vizibility around Horse Shoe Island, but after the die off I did not see better than 8 metres visibility for several years. It is improving again now, however, as the cockles are recovering. Definitely need some sort of plan to avoid the cockles getting absolutely hammered after the closure ends.

    If you look at the Ten-point Plan for the harbour elsewhere on this website you will see that there is scope for a future marine reserve around Horse Shoe Island, to enhance it as a snorkelling area. With no fishing there, flounder and other fish would thrive and provide a wonderful spectacle for future snorkellers. Great place for snorkelling amongst the mangroves too. This experience would be impossible elsewhere in the Auckland Region.

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