It is an indigenous New Zealand tradition to feed, but recently the coastal waters and rock pools have been completely overfished. “The rock pools were filled with anemones, shrimp, crabs and starfish, so all kinds of sea creatures. Almost nothing is left of it now,” says Mary Coupe, head of the Save the Rock Pools Committee interest group.
Local and indigenous groups, such as the iwi, are now pushing for a temporary ban on foraging on the shoreline and rock pools. They claim that groups are grabbing buckets full of sea creatures and throwing them on the barbecue. “I regularly see large groups with hammers, wires and screwdrivers pulling everything – jars with starfish, shellfish – out of the rock pool,” says Coupe. Overfishing, dredging and pollution put the ecosystem under pressure.
Herearoha Skipper, an iwi, pleads in an open letter to the government to do something about overfishing or “our marine species will disappear”. The indigenous group calls for action so that “future generations do not have to suffer the catastrophic consequences of the destruction of cultural activity, biodiversity and the ecosystem”.
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