Foraging is a New Zealand aboriginal tradition, but recently coastal waters and rock pools have been completely overexploited. “The rock pools used to be full of anemones, shrimps, crabs and starfish, so all kinds of marine life. Now there’s nothing left,” says Mary Coupe, president of the Save the Rock Pools Committee.
Local and indigenous groups, such as Ivy, are now pushing for a temporary ban on coastal foraging and rock pools. They say groups grab buckets full of sea creatures and throw them on barbecues. “I often see large groups with hammers, wire and screwdrivers — jars of starfish, crustaceans — taking the rock out of the pool,” Coupé says. Overfishing, dredging and pollution put pressure on the ecosystem.
Hireroha skipper Ivy is pleading with the government in an open letter to do something about overfishing or “our marine species will disappear”. The tribal group called for action so that “future generations do not have to suffer the devastating consequences of destruction of cultural activity, biodiversity and environment”.
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