May 2015: Fish Forever’s baited underwater video project around Urupukapuka, Okahu and Waewaetorea is underway. The project is designed and led by Vince Kerr and supported by Arianna Hemi (studying marine science at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic), with Arethusa as the team’s research vessel, skippered by Dean Wright. A total of 24 sites have been set up and, just for fun, a camera was dropped at the end of the wharf at Otehei Bay, which is a voluntary no-take fish-feeding site.
In June 2015 we caught up with Arianna Hemi, who is assisting Vince Kerr with the Baited Underwater Video project, to find out what it is that drives her.
“Yes, I am a Northland girl – born and bred! I lived in Kaeo for the majority of my life and I’ve always been infatuated with the ocean. One day I saw a course in the Bay Chronicle called Marine Adventure and Ecotourism and I decided to enroll. I learnt all about the marine environment and it sparked a passion within me to work towards a degree in science. (News: July 2015)
Dean Wright lives and breathes the ocean. His home is one of the original small cottages overlooking Opito Bay, the Kerikeri Inlet, and then out on to the wider Bay of Islands. From here, he also has a bird’s eye view of his boat, Arethusa. As a photographer, he creates magical seascapes, often using long exposures at dawn and dusk, exploring "the edges of light". Dean’s most recent photography exhibition, Days at Sea, opens this week at Kaan Zamaan in Kerikeri. (News: July 2015)
The Booth family have resided in the Bay of Islands for a long time...and there are quite a few of them. This band of brothers has an important thing in common: in their own way, they are all change agents, with a keen eye on the preservation of Aotearoa’s – and especially Peiwhairangi’s - native and natural beauty. Not content to accept the status quo (read: slow decline) in our environment, each has played their part in local ecological restoration – both the doing part of it as well as the tricky job of raising awareness in the community. (News: May/June 2015)
Since the publication of the submission report late last year (along with some encouraging press coverage) followed by our conversation with Minister Maggie Barry earlier this year, the Fish Forever team is working hard to find the best path forward to reach our goals. Our commitment is steadfast (we still want marine reserves!) but the story is multi-layered and every decision has its own set of complications. (News: May/June 2015)
Lena Huia Booth (12) has had a long connection with the ocean – she has been sailing with her family since she was born and learnt to snorkel when she was seven. Her family is very much entwined in the natural environment of the Bay of Islands, living on their old family land in the Kerikeri Basin, close to the water. Her father, Chris Booth, is known locally and internationally for his large-scale sculptures that consistently draw our attention to the environmental landscape. Little wonder that Lena Huia has the initiative to start her own project, casting a keen, young eye on what is going on in our waters. (News: May/June 2015)
John Booth © 26 March 2015
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It’s all to do with scale.
Now unequivocally immersed in the Milky Way, and getting close to Earth, we spot two quite large land masses straddling ten degrees of temperate waters half way between the Equator and the great southern white. The northernmost thrusts boldly up into the subtropics, whereas to the south of the lower one lies a scatter of tiny islands hanging on in the face of the Furious Fifties. Occasionally icebergs are visible.
John Booth © 31 August 2014
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Oh! Those mangroves. I never saw one that looked as if it possessed a decent conscience. Growing always in shallow stagnant water, filthy black mud, or rank grass, gnarled, twisted, stunted, and half bare of foliage, they seem like crowds of withered, trodden-down old criminals, condemned to the punishment of everlasting life. I can’t help if it seems fanciful. Anyone who has seen a mangrove swamp will know what I mean.1
There are still no marine reserves in the Bay of Islands. What are our next steps?
Before Christmas, Fish Forever got stuck into considering the various scenarios and potential actions that could get us to that elusive goal line. Can we apply for the marine reserves without hapu support? Should we? What about the Government’s signalled intention to reform marine legislation?
By John Booth © - 2 December 2013
Everyone has something to add. In conversations around the state of the waters of the Bay of Islands, it’s not long before the seagrass (= eelgrass) beds—or the spoiling of them—crops up. Whereas in previous times mangroves were often seen as the great ecological refuge, seagrass meadows have largely taken on that mantle—much to the relief of many who thought mangroves sucked anyway.
By John Booth 3 February 2015
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Sea urchins (kina) have eaten out much of the shallow-water kelp of the Bay of Islands, defiling the Bay's essential life force. There appears no other credible explanation for the kelp loss. Similar destruction has taken place in many other parts of New Zealand, as well as overseas. The experience is that sea urchins increase in abundance as their key predators become overfished; the sea urchins consume or destroy the kelp over the band of the urchins' depth distribution; and this leads to the collapse of natural functioning of shallow-water reef ecosystems.