Rob Greenaway & Associates has studied the recreation and tourism uses of Whangarei Harbour and the coastal areas around Bream Bay, identifying the most intensely used areas, who uses these areas, and how they could be impacted by our proposal.

The recreation study has reviewed:

  • Effects from changes to waves, tides, water clarity and landscape values on all the recreation activities identified, including surfing, boating, swimming, diving and fishing
  • Any potential changes to beach processes which could affect enjoyment of the coast
  • Effects arising from changes to marine habitat on recreational fish and shellfish stocks and the ability to harvest and catch them, and also for watching seabirds and marine mammals
  • Navigational safety during dredging operations and with the new proposed navigational aids in place


We have been busy looking at how our proposed changes will affect recreational activities in the Whangarei Harbour and surrounds, including Bream Bay.

Through independent expert studies and community consultation we recognise that the area is popular for a wide-range of recreational activities such as swimming, beach-going, diving, snorkelling, fishing, kite-surfing, shellfish gathering, surfing and boating.

We have considered a wide variety of potential effects of the proposal, such as the likelihood of changes to the location and abundance of finfish and shellfish, possible changes to water clarity and quality, changes to wave patterns, and effects on shoreline processes. Having to navigate near an operating dredge is also of interest to boaters, but is a basic requirement of skippering a vessel near a commercial port.

No water quality issues are anticipated due to the clean and uncontaminated nature of the material to be dredged.

Changes to wave heights are modelled to be small and variable depending on swell direction, and are unlikely to be noticeable by surfers and other beach users. Changes to beach profiles are consequently unaffected by the capital dredge programme. A sand supply and monitoring programme is proposed for the ebb tide shoal area south-east of Mair Bank to mitigate any potential long-term effects from maintenance dredging, and to assist in offsetting existing erosion processes.

The main effect for recreational use is likely to be a temporary displacement of fishing activity from near the dredged channel and the disposal site, as they recover from bed disturbance. This is predicted to last for 6 to 12 months for capital dredging. This is likely to have a minor effect on recreational fishers due to, for example, the scale of the local fishing resource, the mobility of finfish, the lack of effects beyond the activity footprints, and the temporary nature and progressive recovery of the dredge and disposal areas. We expect some temporary increase in local finfish activity as the dredging activity exposes food sources. Berley will still attract finfish even in disturbed dredge/disposal areas.

If you’d like to know more of the nuts and bolts of the effects these are outlined in the summary document here.

You can read further detail in the related downloads section below.

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