Topic: Rena Submission by the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc and Te Puke branch of Forest & Bird (23 September 2015)

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On 23 September 2015 the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc (Forest & Bird) and Te Puke branch of Forest & Bird presented their submission to the RENA Resource Consent Hearing Commissioners and members of the public at the ASB Arena in Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui. The Hearing panel was chaired by retired Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting, with Cultural Commissioner Rauru Kirikiri, marine engineer John Lumsden and environmental scientist Dr Shane Kelly. In May 2014 the Rena’s owner lodged resource consent applications to leave sections of the wreck on Otaiti (Astrolabe) Reef, and to provide for any future discharges of contaminants.

Archived version here.

MV Rena – Hearing Day 12 – Digital Transcript & Annotations 23 September 2015 Part 2 (16:44).

Forest & Bird’s submission is:

1.    The  following submission is made  on  behalf  of the Royal  Forest  & Bird Protection  Society Incorporated  (Forest & Bird)  and the Te Puke Forest  &  Bird  branch. Forest & Bird was founded in 1923 and is New Zealand’s leading volunteer conservation organisation.  Forest & Bird has around 80,000 members and supporters nationwide. Forest  &  Bird’s  purpose  is  “To  take  all  reasonable  steps…for  the  preservation  and  protection of  the indigenous  flora  and  fauna  and natural features of New Zealand, for the benefit of the public including future generations.”

2.    My name is Al Fleming. I am Forest & Bird’s Regional Conservation and Volunteer Manager for the Central North Island. I hold a B Soc Sc majoring in Geography, a Certificate of Marine Sciences and 20 years experience in conservation management, primarily in the marine environment. I was project Manager for the 3 year Eastern Bay of Plenty Shorebird Recovery Program. This project was funded by the Rena Long-term Environmental Recovery Plan.

3.    My name is Carole Long and I have lived at Papamoa since 1969. I have been involved in conservation since childhood because of my father’s work with the Lands and Survey Department, work with the Wildlife Service and later 15 years working for Department of Conservation in Tauranga. I have been a member of Forest & Bird for 40 years, serving currently as a committee member, have been a Branch councillor at national gatherings and served two five year terms on the Executive Board of the Society. I am a Forest & Bird Distinguished Life Member.

I have a personal connection with the marine and coastal environment of this area and was among those who stood on the beach at Papamoa in tears over the devastation of our beautiful beach. I can still recall the fumes and black oily waves very vividly. Because I was caring for a disabled husband I was not able to be involved directly with the cleanup but through my work for DOC and experience with Forest & Bird I am very aware of the sensitive nature of the ocean and its wildlife.

4.    We do not support leaving any of the RENA wreck or debris on the Astrolabe Reef.

5.    We believe the effects of leaving the RENA or debris on Astrolabe are more than minor including environmental effects associated with:

  • Debris that is not removed. This includes large heavy pieces of wreckage moving around during storms.
  • Effects associated with the approx 300 containers and their contents that have not been recovered.
  • Leaching and / or uptake of toxins and pollutants contained in both the debris and wreck through the food web and subsequent bio accumulation in marine organisms. This includes copper, cryolite, TBTs and aluminium.

6.    We understand that the hearing panel have and will receive a range of opinions and expert evidence as to the effects associated with full or partial removal of the RENA from Astrolabe reef.

7.There have also been significant effects on the environment from the time of the RENA grounding to this point in time that the owners have not addressed in terms of mitigation. These effects include those identified in 5 above but also effects that are over and above those associated with this consent application. These include effects of oil being spilled from the wreck, effects on a wide range of wildlife and marine organisms, and effects on the coastlines within the wider Bay of Plenty.

Mitigation conditions – Outcomes sought

8.If the hearing panel does decide to approve this consent application we seek that mitigation of these effects is identified on the conditions of any consent that may be granted.

9.Condition 1 is the establishment and funding of a Marine Protection Forum representative of Iwi and the community so as to prepare a proposal for the creation of a Marine Reserve at Astrolabe Reef and Marine Protected Areas (MPA) at Motiti Island.

10.All costs associated with the support of this representative body, development of the proposal, consultation with the community, the establishment of a Marine Reserve and MPA(s), and the associated monitoring program for a period of 10 years should be met by a mitigation fund.

11.To ensure the benefits associated with 4 years of ‘no take’ are not lost due to the resumption of fishing the current exclusion zone around the RENA should remain in place until a Marine Reserve is established or decision made not to approve a marine reserve application (whichever is first).  Please note that recreational fisherman in the Bay of Plenty have found alternative places to fish over the last 4 years and if a marine reserve was established at Astrolabe benefits would include ‘spillover’ to adjacent marine areas, i.e. fish and fish larvae increasing in both number and quality will move out of the ‘no take’ at Astrolabe to other areas which can be fished.

12.The establishment of a marine reserve and MPA’s at Astrolabe and Motiti Island would support the national goal in the Biodiversity Strategy 2000 for 10% of the territorial sea to be in MPAs effective for protection of biodiversity. This policy should apply regionally as well as nationally.  Currently the only two marine reserves in the Bay of Plenty (Tuhua / Mayor Island and Te Paepae o Aotea / Volkner Rocks), total approximately 0.1% of the Territorial Sea of the Bay.

13.Condition 2 is the establishment and funding of a Bay of Plenty (BOP) Coastal Ecosystem Restoration Project.  This project builds on and joins together the existing shorebird and coastal protection being undertaken by community volunteers, eNGO’s, Iwi, DOC, Regional and District Councils.  Many of these existing projects received funding from the Rena Long-Term Environmental Recovery Plan.

14.All costs associated with the BOP Coastal Ecosystem Restoration Project for a period of 10 years should be met by the mitigation fund. This would equate to approximately 1 million dollars.

15.Please note that the current draft conditions as identified in the expert conferencing statement do not provide specifically for the establishment of a Marine Protection Forum or Coastal Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Ends.

See also: Bay of Plenty Coastal Ecosystem Restoration Project (July 2015)

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This page archived at Perma CC in November of 2016: https://perma.cc/8U3Z-YQ69

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