Category Archives: Ocean

Our Dying Seas and the fate of the Toheroa – NZ’s Canary in the Coal Mine


In light of the current die-off happening at Waitarere & Hokio in the Horowhenua this week, see what has been happening to our oceans & shellfish stock NZ wide. The demise of these bottom feeders are, like the canary in the coal mine, the early warning signs of worse to come if preventive measures are not taken. Preventive however is not on any corporate radar unfortunately & it may well be too late now going by the information in this article at seafriends.org.nz  

EnvirowatchRangitikei


Never before have so few people done so much harm to the environment,
and over such large areas and in such a short time period as here in New Zealand. – Dr Floor Anthoni

Some 40 years ago the toheroa was New Zealand’s most loved icon, not only unique to our country but also big, and one could catch and eat it. The toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) is a large clam that lives in wave-washed beaches along NZ’s west coast from Wellington to North Cape. In the late 1970s it became protected by a reduced harvest season of only two days per year. Then it became fully protected. It was expected that its populations would recover within a few years but they did not. Instead their numbers dwindled further until today, it remains economically extinct.

toheroa and tuatua ecology Paphies spp

On left the native toheroa (Paphies ventricosa) (1) in the act of digging, and next to it the much smaller but similarly shaped tuatua (Paphies subtriangulatum) (2) and the small tawera or morning star (Tawera spissa), each having  its place and depth on the beach. The toheroa is found from Ninety Mile beach down to Auckland, around Levin and a pocket in the very south of the South Island. It burrows at mid tide, the best place to be for abundant plankton. By comparison the tuatua is found between low and spring low tide. Tawera burrows well below low tide in calmer sandy bottoms. Both tuatua and toheroa are active burrowers, capable of keeping up with the turbulent sand under waves.  


disappearing scallops
The scallop (Pecten novaezelandiae) is another NZ icon on the way out. Only twenty years ago, scallops were numerous and easy to gather but now entire scallop beds have disappeared (red marks on map) and some are not even recognizable. The shells have become small, stunted and empty of their delicious gonads (roe). The burrowed scallop photographed under water (picture below) has not reached legal size, even after ten years of growth. It takes normally 2-3 years to reach legal size. Its margins are stunted (blunted) and it has no content to eat.



New Zealanders did not realize that the toheroa was the first coal miner’s canary (whistle blower) to warn of something terrible happening to our seas. For if total protection could not save it, neither could marine reserves or any other fisheries regulation. It heralded the beginning of a new era, that of dying seas, culminating most likely in the extinction of Maui’s dolphin and the loss of most of our coastal fisheries.

READ MORE

http://www.seafriends.org.nz/indepth/shellfish_collapse.htm#toheroa

Why is there a Massive Shellfish Die off at NZ’s Waitarere Beach?

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Waitarere Beach NZ, littered today and all week with thousands upon thousands of dead and dying shellfish

This was the scene at Waitarere Beach in the North Island of NZ today (16th March 2017). The carnage extends from just south of Foxton, and south as far as Hokio. A local man from there we spoke to (Hokio is just further south of Waitarere) said he’s lived his whole life near this coastline (he is tangata whenua) and has never seen anything like it before. He said it began last Monday … the shellfish are dying en masse.

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A dead pipi on Waitarere beach NZ, one of many thousands seen this week washed up with the tide

Pollution of the Waterways

This is becoming more frequent by the day as huge die offs of many different species of animal, bird and marine life … mysteriously (or so we’re supposed to believe) disappear. Knowing the state of our planet (for those who are observing it closely) and how trashed and polluted it is, it is not mysterious and  not difficult to join a few dots as to the likely causes. Our ocean has been used for decades as a disposal bin for all manner of poisonous trash. The quick, cost effective way for corporations to operate with little accountability.   We are seeing the end results now. Not rocket science at all.  See for yourself videos of the ongoing pollution of this part of NZ’s coast here. DCs call it ‘sustainable development’.

The following video illustrates the pollution of Foxton Beach (just further north of Waitarere) via the Manawatu River (dubbed most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere, a river where Trenchmouth has been contracted). This was in 2012. Our rivers here are only 40% swimmable. The rest are not safe to do more than wade in.

Hokio Stream has become ‘an open sewer’ after years of polluting

A Horowhenua hapu says it has been heartbreaking to watch one of their streams become more and more polluted.

The Levin Landfill has this week been the subject of a hearing, with its effects on the nearby Hoiko Stream being put under the microscope.

The Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council and environmental group Neighbourhood Liaison Group have spent the week poring over the environmental effects of the landfill.

David Moore, a representative of the NLG and the Ngati Pareraukawa hapu, said the stream’s degradation had been a “tragedy”

READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/84576646/Hokio-Stream-has-become-an-open-sewer-after-years-of-polluting

RELATED:
Levin landfill not obliged to meet ‘modern environmental aspirations’

The Levin Landfill does not need to meet modern environmental standards because it has already has consent, a council lawyer says.

Note well, that comment is from a council, like most throughout NZ, that purports to recognise “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga” (SOURCE) … and to operate “sustainably”. See our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu for further examples of LG complicity in pollution.

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Pollution on Waitarere Beach is a common sight now as farm & industrial effluent spew into the waterways daily

Explore the links provided here to see that this is now a global problem. If you search for yourself you will find many more.

Thousands of Dead Pipi Wash Up on Waihi Beach

Thousands of dead pipi have washed up on Waihi Beach in the Bay of Plenty, shocking the locals.

A video shot by resident Jeannette McCallum on Tuesday shows the sea of dead pipi lying on the beach.

Ms McCallum says she found the blanket of shellfish during a walk with her friend, and in some places the pipi were 20 centimetres deep.

“They were really thick around the stream that comes from the reservoir and onto the beach.”

READ MORE

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/03/thousands-of-dead-pipi-wash-up-on-waihi-beach.html

FURTHER LINKS FOR WAIHI:
http://www.maifm.co.nz/home/vids/2017/sad-scenes-as-whole-pipi-bed-washes-up-at-waihi-beach.html
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11818851
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11819597

Mystery of Shellfish Decline

A popular Northland shellfish-gathering spot is closed indefinitely due to a mysterious population collapse.

Surveyors of Ngunguru Estuary’s pipi beds could find no specimens last year over 5cm in length, compared with 10 years ago when there were about 50 pipi that size per square metre.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11577328

Incurable Oyster Herpes Behind Big Shellfish Die-off

An incurable herpes virus has been named as the likely cause of a huge increase in juvenile oyster deaths in the upper North Island.

The $30m oyster industry announced last week that about half its crops had died over November and December.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11577328

Shellfish Collapse in NZ

Shellfish are found in the near-coastal zone, close to where people live. It stands to reason then that they will be the first to show that the sea is in a serious condition. Furthermore, shellfish cannot swim away temporarily to avoid occasional bad conditions. This article raises alarm about what has been happening and what will happen next. The consistent collapses of our shellfish stocks brings an important message. No longer can we say that we were not warned!

http://www.seafriends.org.nz/indepth/shellfish_collapse.htm

Animal mass die-offs, animal news and animal strange behaviors

Yes, giant mass die-offs, disease outbreaks and other stressors are on the rise, killing billions… But we don’t react! Are they so mysterious?

Below, find a collection of animal mass die-offs from around the world for 2015.
Animal are dying in huge numbers due to pollution of sea and air:
  • Millions of fish and massive numbers of whales and dolphins are washing ashore dead.
  • Birds are falling dead from the sky
  • Poultry are dying from avian flu. and cattles from other sometimes unknown disease.

http://strangesounds.org/animal-mass-die-off-strange-behaviors

Fukushima

The elephant in the room nobody talks about in mainstream media & as we speak is killing fish stocks world wide. See the map six years on with what is flooding into the Pacific … how can we not factor in the pollution that this event has brought to our oceans?

“The nuclear disaster that has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.”  READ MORE

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An energy map provided by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the intensity of the tsunami in the Pacific Ocean caused by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11th 2011

Find further articles on Fukushima at ‘categories’ (left of page) & on the main menu.

EnvirowatchRangitikei Horowhenua