The lace coral beds on the seafloor at Separation Point in Golden Bay â Tasman Bay are thriving – and commercial fishers can take the credit. In late 1970s fishers realized these beds were under threat from heavy fishing gear and that they were important nursery areas. The beds were then protected by fisheries regulations in 1980.
National institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have just completed a survey of the area. The research showed that there were large mounds of bryozoans throughout the protected area. Thirty-seven species of bryozoans and 40 species of associated invertebrates were found. Bryozoans are important because they increase habitat complexity and provide shelter for prey and predators. If it hadnât been for the foresight of commercial fishers in 1980 this important habitat might have disappeared, as new bryozoan mounds would have difficulty establishing directly on soft mud once it was broken by fishing gear. For more info visit www.niwa.co.nz