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Live Ocean: Burling and Tuke back expansion of Hauraki Gulf Protection Zones

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 23 Jun 2021 03:39 PDT 23 June 2021
New Zealand SailGP Team is linked with Live Ocean - the charitable environment trust founded by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke © Bob Martin/SailGP

Live Ocean's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have welcomed the move to significantly increase the Hauraki Gulf marine reserves and other protection measures announced by the NZ Labour Government on Tuesday.

"This is a really massive step for the restoration of Hauraki Gulf, and we hope it signals the moment where as a country, we began to turn the ship around for the health of the Gulf," they said in a written statement to Sail-World.

"We support the increased marine protection and also the call of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, which would like to see the government go further and end all bottom dredging or trawling. You can't have a healthy ocean without a healthy seafloor, and we shouldn't be using these methods in our national park of the sea. We all benefit from a healthy Hauraki Gulf, and sailors and people who have spent their lives on the ocean have a special role to play", they added.

"It is going to take a big effort from everyone to try and address the vast issues that the ocean faces", Blair Tuke told Sail-World at Yachting NZ's Tokyo2020 farewell session last week.

"It is not just one thing that is going to fix it from here. I think the science has been pretty clear that marine protection is a good thing, but as a country, we need to work out how we do this in a way that supports and includes customary knowledge."

"Obviously, that needs to be done in the right way, in the right places, and based on science," Tuke explained. "It is also the way we harvest and what we take all plays into it," he added.

"The connection between the land and ocean is very clear. Sedimentation from run-off is a big problem from the ocean, too. It's not just one thing that is complicated. We need to get everyone to understand that the ocean is in serious trouble."

"To have something that is the life support system of the planet in trouble like that is something we have got to address seriously, and we need to try and address it drastically and quickly."

The America's Cup and Olympic 49er champions' marine-focused charitable trust Live Ocean is now getting international exposure on the F50's wingsail of the NZSailGP team, which is now two events into Season 2 of the SailGP international circuit. Established in the USA and New Zealand, Live Ocean's projects encompass international marine issues such as the Southern Right Whale and Antipodean albatross, as well as a local focus.

"We've been putting in the hard work with Live Ocean," Tuke explained. "The projects that we have got behind have continued to give good results for the scientists and provide good data. Some awareness has been created, and the foundation of what we have set up is working. There are still a lot of things and hard work that we want to keep stepping up."

"It has been great to work Live Ocean in with SailGP. To get the eyeballs that SailGP gives us is pretty awesome."

"We are also involved with the Antipodean albatross [a smaller and darker species than the larger Wandering albatross]. That was our first project, and we have seen some good work done with the data that has come from the trackers that Live Ocean funded."

"That information allows scientists and governments to have some discussions with fishing fleets to get mitigation techniques established for the surface long-line fleets implemented."

However, although the Antipodean albatross project is doing great work, Tuke notes: "we need to help save them because they are in a fast decline."

"We also need to get out a bigger seabird bycatch message, as well," he adds.

"The work with Dr Emma Carroll is continuing in the Auckland Islands with the Southern Right Whale. She will be off again in a couple of months for her second year of that program and research."

"Then we are doing some work locally with kelp restoration in the Hauraki Gulf."

"There are a lot of different projects and more in the pipeline. We are trying to find high-quality science projects that can really connect with people and show them the bigger picture."

Donate at liveocean.com/donate/

Click here for the media release

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