The Bay of Islands' stunning natural beauty is not without its threats. The impacts of growing development can be felt even here. However, the conservation efforts in the Bay are steadily increasing as awareness is raised among the communities that we must actively preserve our environment.
Here is a showcase of ongoing conservation programmes in the Bay of Islands, many of which Ecocruz is directly connected with. Most of these groups have ties to the Department of Conservation (Te Papa Atawhai), New Zealand’s national body dealing with protecting and preserving our natural heritage.
Coastal Marine Research Group
The Coastal Marine Research Group is part of Massey University and has researchers based in the Bay of Islands, the Hauraki Gulf, the Bay of Plenty and the Marlborough Sounds. The Bay of Islands research focuses on the impacts of tourism on the now locally endangered bottlenose dolphin and the ecology of the little known false killer whale. The latter is conducted by Ecocruz owner and operator, John.
Currently, there are no marine protected areas in the Bay of Islands which means that you can fish everywhere and at any time of year. Not surprisingly, fish stocks have decreased noticeably. Fish Forever’s objective is to protect 10% of the enclosed waters of the Bay as a network of marine sanctuaries. John is an active member of the group and Ecocruz lends financial support to this worthwhile venture.
Orca Research Trust
New Zealand has a small resident population of around 200 orca (killer whales). The Orca Research Trust founder Ingrid Visser has dedicated her life to the protection of orca and their habitat through conservation, education and scientific research. Ecocruz supports the Trust through providing scientific data as well as logistical and financial support.
Project Island Song
Project Island Song is an initiative to restore the native plant and animal life on a number of the Bays numerous islands. The project is a partnership between the Guardians of the Bay of Islands (part of the Department of Conservation) and the local Maori tribes. The current focus lies on the eradication of introduced pests and the reforestation of the clear cut islands. The ultimate aim is to reintroduce native fauna back to these stunning islands. Ecocruz has helped with the planting of trees in the past and supports the project financially.
Bay Bush Action
Bay Bush Action’s purpose is to reduce pest numbers in the Opua State Forest and create a healthier biodiversity with the aim to eventually reintroduce threatened species into the area. You can support them by sponsoring one (or several) of their traps that catch destructive introduced pests. Ecocruz sponsors a number of different traps.
New Zealand has one of the highest whale and dolphin stranding rates in the world. However, with the necessary equipment and expertise many stranded whales can be successfully returned to the sea. Whale Rescue provides such equipment together with practical and logistical expertise at stranding events. John is a core member of Whale Rescue and Ecocruz supports the group financially.