A National Party spokesman has launched a petition to reverse the decision of a proposed protected marine area around Tauranga's Motiti Island.

National's Fisheries spokesman Ian McKelvie today announced his plan to fight the decision as he believed it breached the rights of commercial and recreational fishers.

He also believed wider consultation was necessary.

"These powers should remain the prerogative of central government and the Minister needs to intervene to ensure this remains the case."


In November, the Court of Appeal ruled regional councils control fishing to protect biodiversity, using the Resource Management Act.

The decision stems from a long legal battle where environmental and Motiti Island residents pitted against the Government and fishing representatives.

At the time, the decision response was a mixed bag with some calling it "hugely significant", while others believed there would be a "huge backlash".

The heart of the legal battle centred on whether regional councils such as the Bay of Plenty Regional Council could exercise controls on fishing, or whether they were prohibited from doing so by the Fisheries Act, as argued by the fishing industry.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal referred to the regional council introducing the fishing restriction to "protect indigenous biodiversity from the effects of unsustainable fishing activity that has been permitted under the Fisheries Act".