The plan focuses on an integrated “ridge-to-reef” approach to address issues affecting the Aitutaki lagoon and deliver effective and sustainable management options.
MMR outlined the steps of the process, which the ministry says requires clear objectives, a comprehensive analysis of stakeholders and baseline data and a series of reviews and negotiations, leading to management strategies being implemented.
There is a strong focus on island government, community and stakeholder consultation.
It is hoped the community approach will ensure that the outcomes and management strategies are embedded within the activities of the people of Aitutaki.
Aitutaki lagoon accommodates a diverse range of activities including subsistence fishing, lagoon tour operators, ra’ui conservation areas, bonefish anglers, pa’ua restocking, kite-surfing competitions and more.
It is believed the beauty of the world famous lagoon is also under threat.
A massive coral bleaching event which took place in February this year has impacted the natural biodiversity and driven the health of the lagoon to precarious levels.
An important aspect of the plan will be to address water and sanitation issues that affect the health of the lagoon and infrastructure planning, as well as impacts of tourism and development pressure on the health of the lagoon.
The plan aims to encompass the management needs of Manuae and the isle of Te Au o Tu, with a particular focus on the management of local pa’ua populations.
MMR,the Aitutaki Island Government, National Environment Service, the GEF-funded Ridge to Reef Project and the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project are working together on this plan, encouraging groups to unite in finding management solutions.