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Monitoring framework for the Waikato coastal marine area: Report 2–Regional aquaculture monitoring priorities and guidance

Prepared for Waikato Regional Council. Waikato Regional Council Technical Report 15/39. Cawthron Report 2429.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Waikato Regional Council (WRC) has recognised the need to rationalise and improve environmental monitoring for the Waikato coastal marine area (CMA). As part of WRC’s steps towards meeting this need, the Cawthron Institute (Cawthron) has developed a framework that integrates consent-related and wider state of the environment (SOE) monitoring. Using aquaculture as a first case study for the framework, a three-report series has been produced to present the framework and develop ecological monitoring requirements and standards for aquaculture in the CMA. The three reports are as follows:

Report 1: Monitoring framework: Presents the rationale and key elements of a regional monitoring framework that integrates monitoring associated with consented activities and wider state of the environment (SOE) monitoring (Forrest & Cornelisen 2015).

Report 2: Regional guidance on priority issues and monitoring: Addresses the ecological effects of aquaculture in the Waikato CMA and identifies the priority issues that need to be addressed through industry best practice and reporting, and/or through monitoring of effects.

Report 3: Monitoring methodologies and standards: Recommends methodologies and standards for monitoring the seabed, water column and the wider environment in relation to the potential effects of aquaculture (Keeley et al. 2015).

This document is Report 2 in the series, and provides a case study for many (but not all) of the elements of the Report 1 framework. Following the key steps in the framework, Report 2 undertakes the following:

  1. to identify key ecological effects of aquaculture that could arise with different culture methods or species, or sea-based production stages (spat and grow-out), and reveal the limitations of present monitoring in relation to these effects (Step 2; assess actual or potential effects on CMA)
  2. to discuss the following aspects for each of the key ecological effects (Step 3; develop consent monitoring requirements and alignment with SOE):
  • approaches to mitigation of actual and potential effects, in particular via implementation of best management practices
  • consent-related environmental monitoring and reporting that is necessary or desirable for the different industry sectors; and the need for (and benefits of) supporting regional SOE monitoring
  • where a need for monitoring is identified, to describe (to the extent feasible at this stage) indicators and standards for evaluating environmental quality (Step 4). For water column and seabed effects, this report provides only the high-level ideas, with Report 3 providing a more in-depth analysis.

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