Tasman’s marine area extends from Kahurangi Lighthouse in the south-west to Champion Road (Richmond) in the north-east.
Including the seabed, the marine area extends seaward from the mean high water mark out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit. This covers a coast line of approximately 725 kilometres and includes many estuaries and inlets.
The area can be divided into three distinct geographical regions, Golden Bay and Tasman Bay, collectively known as Nelson Bays, and the West Coast.
Golden Bay's western boundary is Farewell Spit. Farewell Spit stretches 30 kilometres eastward into the Tasman Sea from the Cape Farewell mainland. The spit is an active feature and is still getting longer. A dune-fringed sandy beach faces the Tasman Sea while on the southern side the spit bounds an extensive shallow mudflat. Farewell Spit is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Significance.
Golden Bay lies at the edge of the junction between the Tasman Sea and Cook Strait. It stretches for 45 kilometres from Farewell Spit in the north to Separation Point located within Abel Tasman National Park at its southern extremity. Beyond this point, the larger of the two bays at the top of the South Island, Tasman Bay begins. Tasman Bay extends form Separation point to French Pass and Durville Island in the East.
An assessment of the ecological and landscape importance of the coastal environment from Kahurangi Point to Waimea Inlet was undertaken by the Department of Conservation in the early 1990’s (Davidson et al, 1993). Three areas were recognised as having international importance: Farewell Spit and tidal flats (for the ecological values of the wetland), Abel Tasman National Park coastline and estuaries (for outstanding seascapes, Separation Point bryozoans, and one of only two known locations of Peppercress Lepidium banksii) and No-Mans Island in Waimea Estuary (for the other known location of Peppercress). A total of 20 other sites were found to be nationally important, with 11 of these sites in Golden Bay, five sites in Tasman Bay and four sites on the West Coast. A range of values were present at these sites including the presence of rare or threatened species, unlogged coastal catchments, spectacular seascapes, and high degree of naturalness. Recommendations are listed for the management of these sites.
Golden and Tasman Bays (the Nelson Bays) fisheries are founded on the productivity of the Nelson Bays’ ecosystems. Phytoplankton (free floating, single-celled marine algae) start the marine food chain, by harnessing sunlight energy and nutrients to grow and reproduce. The Bays are a highly productive phytoplankton area feeding animal plankton (zooplankton) and filter-feeding shellfish that underpin aquaculture, fisheries and other ecological services within the Bays.
Our environment offers a productive area for aquaculture, dredge fishing for shellfish and trawling or long line fishing for finfish.
Aquaculture has the potential to provide significant employment within the District from the sustainable use of sea space. However, it is a public commons and care needs to be taken in the development and management of aquaculture.
The activity is controlled by the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) which enables the opportunity for aquaculture and indicates where it is appropriate and where it is not. Zoning areas for aquaculture (and prohibiting it elsewhere) addresses the potential impact of aquaculture on natural character, landscape, public access, ecological, recreational, amenity values and those values important to tangata whenua iwi.
Fishing activities are not covered by the Tasman District Council. Fishing activities are controlled by the Ministry of Fisheries and information should be sought from their website . The Council obtained advice on the potential impacts of dredge and bottom trawl fishing on the sea bed from the National Institute and Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. The report is available for reading.
Coast Care is a community-based programme supported by Tasman District Council. It enables communities and private landowners to protect the natural coastal environment by restoring and managing dunes.
As a Regional Authority, the Tasman District Council has trained staff and equipment available to respond to oil spills in the marine environment. This page provides emergency contacts and outlines Council's response capabilities.
If you see a vessel sinking or clearly in distress, dial the emergency services number: 111 (ask for the Police)
To report a marine oil spill around Tasman contact the Tasman District Council and ask to speak to the Regional On-Scene Commander or Harbourmaster: (03) 543 8400
Alternatively, contact the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand: 0508 472 269 (0800 4 RCCNZ) or (04) 914 8380
At sea, call the Maritime Operations Centre on VHF radio channel 16
The Council's response capability is maintained through partnerships with Nelson City Council, Maritime New Zealand and Port Nelson. There are three levels of oil spill incidents:
|Type of spill||Responsibility|
|Tier 1||Small localised spills at site-specific locations such as at onshore or offshore oil transfer sites||Industry|
|Tier 2||A small to moderate spill within the Territorial Sea (12 nautical miles)||Regional Council|
|Tier 3||A large spill that is beyond the capability of the Regional Council or is outside the 12 nautical mile offshore boundary, and which requires a national response||Maritime New Zealand|
Tasman District Council maintains a contingency plan for responding to Tier 2 events. Oil spill preparedness is funded by the Oil Pollution Levy, which is paid by the industry sectors whose activities raise the risk of a marine oil spill. In the event of an oil spill, the polluter is liable for all costs associated with the response.
The Tasman District Council has a number of staff that are trained in safely and effectively responding to Tier 2 events. The staff are also trained to fit into a national Tier 3 response under the leadership of Maritime New Zealand, should it be necessary.
Staff are trained to fill the following roles:
Regular exercises are held in locations such as Port Nelson and Port Tarakohe to ensure that staff are:
Water quality is regularly monitored at popular swimming and recreational water sport locations within the Tasman District. the link below displays sampling results for each of the monitored sites