Hauraki Gulf fish stocks and water quality plunge, sparking call for 'change today'

A new report has revealed the sorry state of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, saying fish stock and water quality has declined dramatically.

Environmentalists says the surge in human population is creating huge pressures, and are pleading with local and central government to take urgent steps. Source: 1 NEWS

The people working and playing in the gulf are being blamed for its ongoing deterioration.  

"We need change today because if we don't act now we might be in trouble in another 20 or 30 years," said John Tregidga, Hauraki Gulf Forum chairman.

The damning report shows water quality degradation, ecosystem decline and travelly, snapper and crayfish numbers down more than 80 per cent.

"The rate of change is so rapid that it's really hard for management agencies to respond in a manner that's actually going to control these impacts," said Shane Kelly, the report author.

In 2016, a comprehensive sea change plan was developed by environmentalists, iwi and commercial fishing companies. 

But little action has been taken and the Government is accused of dragging its feet. 

"We're doing far too much fishing. We need to get commercial fishing and trawling out of the Hauraki Gulf," Mr Tregidga said.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the state of the gulf environment was an indictment of past inaction.  

She acknowledged the challenges of population growth and continuing nutrient and sediment pollution from land development and says she is actively considering the 2016 plan.  

The Hauraki Gulf Forum meets with the minister next week in the hope it will bring about that much-needed sea change.