A mobile rubbish barge will be back on the water in the Bay of Islands this summer and authorities are urging boaties to use it.

Jim Lyle, Northland Regional Council's Opua-based Regional Harbourmaster, says the 10-m long barge will operate on a weather-dependent basis from December 27 until the end of January.

It will be crewed and will anchor around the islands and boats in the eastern Bay of Islands for pre-advertised periods and locations to collect rubbish from boaties.

In a slight change from last year, the barge will select a suitable location each day, depending on the prevailing weather, and stay in that location. "This will save confusion and boats chasing the barge around," Mr Lyle said..


The barge is a multi-agency initiative organised by The NRC and supported by that council, Far North District Council, Department of Conservation and local contractor East West Waste.

Mr Lyle said that during last year's successful trial the barge collected about 50cu m of refuse and 100 wheelie bins of recycling from various spots in the eastern Bay of Islands.

"Feedback from the public was very positive with strong demand for continuation of the service this year."

This summer shore-based collection facilities will be available at Opua, and Rawhiti (both accessible by water) as well as Dicks Bay. The barge will also visit campsites on Urupukapuka Island.

The barge service will cost $5 per bag, irrespective of whether pre-paid rubbish bags are used or not. Mr Lyle says people should ensure they have change or cash on hand, as bags will not be accepted unless paid for.

Recyclable materials will incur a nominal $2 charge. The weather-dependent service is expected to operate on December 27, New Year's Eve, January 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 17, 24 and 31, with confirmations announced via Russell Radio.