Researchers from the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory have been undertaking controlled kina removal from discrete areas of kina barrens at Hauturu-o-toi, Leigh and Otata (Noises Is) as part of a project aimed at restoring the mauri of reefs in Moananui a Toi – the Hauraki Gulf.
Extensive areas of kina barrens at Hauturu-o-toi
Beneath the waves, many reefs in the Hauraki Gulf are overrun with kina, which consume all the rimurimu leaving behind a bare reef termed “kina barrens”. This over abundance of kina is a result of decades of fishing of their main predators tamure and koura. What’s worse, the kina in these barren areas have little food are generally small and skinny - and not too good as kai.
While the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust are working with the University to develop broader solutions to restoring the balance and mauri of the rohe moana, these kina removal experiments are providing information on how quickly rimurimu recovers once kina are removed, and if the kina that subsequently move in to these areas are in better condition and a better kai resource.
Initial results have shown rapid recovery of rimurimu at some sites which has been very encouraging, but recovery has been slow at others. The researchers are now proposing to trial some reseeding approaches at two sites near Leigh to see if they can kick-start the recovery of rimurimu where it has been slow to recover naturally.
The scientists will also be surveying the kina removal sites over the coming months, which will be one year since the initial removal. We look forward to seeing the results and will keep you all updated – watch this space!
Juvenile kelp plants (Ecklonia radiata) recovering in the kina removal area near Leigh
We would like to extend an invitation to all persons interested in volunteering work and helping us with the Kina removal project. We’re looking for people who can assist us with monitoring, testing, removal, and observation.
If you’ve got the time, passion, and a willingness to help out please do complete the expression of interest form and we’ll be in contact when we move to level 2.
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