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Surfbreak Protection Society takes Kiwi enviro issues to court

Aramoana surf break © Nicola Reeves



Environmental Updates

SPS please with outcomes of Enviroment Court mediation

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 December, 2013 -- Auckland, New Zealand - The Surfbreak Protection Society (SPS) is pleased with the outcomes of Environment Court mediation last week for the nationally significant Aramoana and Whareakeake (Murdering Bay) surfbreaks, which were at risk of degradation from dredging (disposal) activities.

Aramoana and Whareakeake (murdering Bay) are two of the seventeen named surfbreaks in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.

SPS president Paul Shanks is pleased that both Port Otago Ltd (POL) and SPS scientists have identified that to employ an adaptive management plan, depositing of spoil should meet the amounts that have been deposited over the last 10 years for the first year at least.

Although nearshore disposal had occurred since the mid-1980 at the Spit, and since early last century at the deeper Heyward site, there were concerns and anecdotal evidence that both disposal sites have had negative impacts on the 2 Nationally Significant surfing breaks of Aramoana and Whareakeake. 

Dr Shaw Mead (employed by SPS) is satisfied that we now have a baseline to observe from:

“The missing information with respect to these surfbreaks and being able to apply an adaptive management plan requires quantification of the parameters that define the surfing quality at these breaks , if you haven’t quantified the quality of the surfing waves at the breaks, how do you know if it has changed, how do you set limits and trigger values to address impacts, and if you do measure a change, how do you link it back to the activity?”

“The monitoring plan agreed to by both SPS and POL will now address these concerns”, says Paul Shanks. “It was always evident that Port Otago genuinely wanted to avoid adverse effects on the surfbreaks, it was just a matter of defining the correct methodology.”

New Zealand is fortunate enough to have some of the world’s leading scientists in the field of surfing science (measuring the surfing wave quality) and we are pleased that the surfing community is included in the monitoring group.

SPS would like to acknowledge the input and support of local surfers Nicola Reeves, Rod Rust and the South Coast Boardriders club, without the local support it would have been difficult to proceed.

Says Paul Shanks; “What has been agreed to here is a significant template to measure other surfbreaks of National Significance, (as listed in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement) like the Whangamata Bar.”

Michael Gunson

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