Fisheries New Zealand is calling for submissions on a hapū-led rāhui in the Far North banning the collection of scallops from Whangaroa Harbour and nearby coastal areas.
The public have until May 10 to make submissions on the rāhui, which unofficially began on January 16 following a community meeting in Kaeo.
It was requested by Nga Hapū o Karangahape marae, Whānau pani, Ngāti Kaitangata and Ngāti Kauwau, who are concerned scallop stocks have been depleted due to flooding, sediment, dredging, water quality, overfishing and climate change.
It applied across the entire Whangaroa Harbour and the waters around Motutara Island, Wekarua Island (Sugar Loaf), Stephenson's Island and Oruatemanu Island, and includes Taupō Bay and Tauranga Bay.
Karangahape Marae trustee Nyree Porter-Manuel said action was needed to protect the harbour for future generations.
Hapū have been monitoring the area, regularly taking photos and gathering live footage of the seabeds.
This would be compared to further information gathered in the coming weeks to see if there have been any signs of dredging, she said.
"The best thing is that the community are watching and doing their bit too. So it's really a good thing.
"After the tsunami [alert on March 5], it gave the harbour a good cleanout. There was a massive difference on the seafloor. Those surges moved a lot of things."
The request is for a two-year closure to allow time for scallop stocks in the area to regenerate.
It will also recognise and provide for the customary management practices of tangata whenua in the exercise of their non-commercial fishing rights.
Raniera Kaio from Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa said the rūnanga is "fully behind" the rāhui.
"We are currently working with the rest of the coastal hapū toward the southern and northern ends of the boundary to extend the rāhui over the entire coastal area."
Kaio said at the last community meeting on January 12, several kaumātua and kuia said they couldn't recall the last time scallops were on the marae hākari table.
"It was almost heartbreaking to hear the elders speak of it like that.
"It reinforced that the desire for the hapū and iwi to place a rāhui on our harbour and coastal waters was the right thing."
Submissions can be made by email to FMSubmissions@mpi.govt.nz or post to: Spatial Planning and Allocations, Fisheries Management, Fisheries New Zealand, PO Box 2526