Fisheries Minister, Hon John Luxton, today announced moves to close part of Spirits Bay and Tom Bowling Bay, between
Cape Reinga and North Cape, to commercial fishing in order to protect a unique seabed community.
Scientific studies indicate that species, such as rare sponges, found on the sea floor in Spirits Bay and Tom Bowling
Bay form a unique coastal ecosystem.
"The area with the greatest number of unique species in the 50-70 metre depth zone will be closed to trawling, Danish
seining and scallop dredging. If fishing is not constrained, there is the potential that the species in this area could
Mr Luxton said the closure would allow the seafloor communities to begin regenerating, thereby maintaining biological
The Ministry of Fisheries will conduct a further review with stakeholders next year, when a final scientific report on
the area is completed. Once this information is available, it will be appropriate to consider whether future research
programmes or adjustments to management controls are warranted for Spirits Bay and Tom Bowling Bay.