Hawke's Bay Regional Council has put its support behind work looking at the state of the region's marine environment and strategies to improve it.
A report summarising the available information on marine habitats in the Hawke's Bay coastal marine environment and a recent review of the environment was presented to yesterday's council meeting.
The report, facilitated by HBRC with investment from the council, Ministry of Primary Industries and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated included an overview of the current available information around the marine habitats of Hawke's Bay, both scientific, anecdotal and customary.
Council group manager for resource management Iain Maxwell said the report was a good stepping stone from which to identify the key knowledge gaps and important marine habitats in Hawke's Bay.
"The report also highlighted the need to integrate freshwater and land issues into any research or future work in the coastal marine environment," Mr Maxwell said.
HBRC staff saw this as an opportunity to take a leadership role and bring together key partners and agencies in the area, including the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, tangata whenua fisheries interests, as well as commercial and recreational interests to begin a discussion on options to inform the debate.
Mr Maxwell said now they have a better understanding of the environment and the gaps in science the next step was to develop a strategy and list of research priorities.
"There are big challenges ahead but HBRC is keen to lead and facilitate this important work for Hawke's Bay."
Yesterday's Council meeting encouraged staff to seek funding to enable the next steps of bringing together a broader group to develop a long term strategy and research plan.