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thisquality has created this story to educate locals that are not aware of the impact that clam dredging has, and this story reflects a past incident that has happened too many times.
The Kāpiti Coast District Council is reviewing their 2009 beach bylaw. Currently, its stage is at Formal consultation, which runs for five weeks from October 12 to November 13.
On February 28, Romaine Ferris managed to take photos next to a clam dredging boat, getting an insight into the wide-scale operation that Cloudy Bay Clams runs. The boat dredged for around 10 hours during that day.
Cloudy Bay Clams harvests surf clams along the coasts of New Zealand but has been destroying beaches on parts of Kapiti Coast and the further north-west coast of the lower North Island.
“We hung around for 20-30mins, and the skipper spent most of that time not moving and on his cell phone, but we managed to get some good shots and footage to give you all an idea of what this boat is capable of,” said Romaine Ferris.
“After that, we headed out for a fish, not many around! About 5 hours later, the boat headed across the Cook Straight toward Queen Charlotte Sound back to Picton!.”
Bad weather conditions or rough seas have not washed up the shellfish. The dredging boats put the smaller clams back into the water, causing them to die because they can no longer dig into the sand that has been destroyed, which results in them washing up on the beach.
Commercial boats have no reason to be so close to the Otaki’s foreshore for dredging of clams. The operations its self have been destroying the ecosystems, and, the elected MP’s, Mayors and the Kāpiti Coast District Council is not doing enough about it.
MPI accordingly confirmed that the operations were ‘legit’ and ‘legal’ – the fishing company behind the process, Cloudy Bay Clams, called for a meeting on the issue that was supposedly public. Still, locals reported that they never heard about it, including iwi.
MPI was aware of the operation and inspected it. They said to the public that the company is ‘operating legally’ — “We want to assure the public that they are operating legally, and report their catch and position electronically daily through our Digital Monitoring system,” said MPI Fisheries in a statement on March 6.
On March 7, Romaine Ferris went out to investigate. It was shocking.
Many clams were found washed up at Otaki’s north-western beach end — the next few days the clam dredging boat was reported further up the coast at Waikawa beach, and potentially moved further towards Kuku beach.
As far as it goes, if the community have their say about the issue, which is currently being planned for as a public event by locals; something might get changed.