Council holds a treasure trove of scientific information about marine life and underwater habitat in the Sounds – much of it from expert reports that come in with resource consent applications for marine farms and moorings.
To capture all this information, in 2011 Council and the Department of Conservation produced a report, Ecologically Significant Marine Sites in Marlborough, which identified 129 individual sites.
These sites collectively support rare or special features, habitats and marine life. Some of the most important sites for sustaining fish and marine diversity are habitats created by living organisms.
These biogenic or living structures provide food and hiding places for marine invertebrates and small fish which, in turn, support abundant fish stocks.
Threats to these special areas include dredging, trawling, anchoring and sedimentation and Council is monitoring some of the sites to understand how they are faring, and also surveying areas that we know are important but need more information on.
Council has developed a protocol for members of the public to nominate new ecologically significant marine sites.