More Aucklanders Visit Marine Reserves Than Go Fishing!

The Auckland Council People’s Panel is a large group of many thousands of the Auckland public interested in providing feedback to Council about various issues which Council has an influence over or interest in.  Frequent questionnaires are published seeking the views of the panelists on a wide variety of topics.  A recent one was on Auckland’s Natural Environment.  Full results of this survey can be seen at  People’s Panel survey – Protecting & Improving Auckland’s Natural

Tawharanui Marine Reserve on a quiet day.  Beaches and coasts were of greatest interest to panelists.

Tawharanui Marine Reserve on a quiet day. Beaches and coasts were of greatest interest to panelists.

The following I found fascinating in response to Question 5B, “In the last 12 months have you done any of the following activities in Auckland?”

Visited a beach 92%
Visited a marine reserve in Auckland 39%
Fished in the ocean 24%

Although there are huge numbers of boats in Auckland, and large numbers of Aucklanders go fishing in the sea, visiting marine reserves is a significantly more common activity than fishing. I find this interesting in that a lot of fuss is made about fishing being such an important recreational activity, yet in reality far more people visit our few marine reserves and you hear very little about them. Perhaps this is because there is an enormous commercial retail industry built around fishing (boats, fishing gear, high-tech sounders and navigation equipment), but little is required to enjoy a marine reserve.

Clearly there is a strong case for providing more marine reserves and there would be willing support from most of the public. Opposition from fishers should be seen as just what it is – complaints from a vocal minority.

In the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, although we have six marine reserves, they cover only 0.3% of the area of the Park. In line with the Biodiversity Strategy 2000, a Government document and part of our international commitment, we should push this percentage up to 10% as soon as possible.


  1. Martin baker says:

    2800 respondents in a city of 1 million plus has a shocking margin of error this is comical and disgraceful research quality people may visits parks or reserves 1 or 2 times a year but perhaps go fishing or use other facilities 20 X

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