Sail boats moored in the Mapua estuary

Our coastline stretches for well over 700 kilometres and it’s valued as a place where people live, recreate, earn livelihoods, relax, gather food, and practice cultural activities. It’s likely you have fond memories from time spent along the Tasman District coast. The District is also home to several internationally and nationally significant estuaries and sand flats.

Our marine environment is always changing. It features a diverse range of coastal environments and habitats including deep waters, shallow coastal seas, sheltered estuarine systems, spits, sand dunes, salt marshes, sea cliffs, some high energy beaches, and coastal wetlands. The coast is bordered by a range of land types including national park, a wide range of rural land uses, and some urban and industrial development.

All environments are connected, and many of the pressures on our marine environment are caused by activity on land. The sea is the receiving environment for run-off from land, which often reaches the coast via rivers or streams, and estuaries. This run-off can deposit sediments and other contaminants including nutrients (e.g. fertilisers and effluent), chemicals (e.g. pesticides and herbicides), and bacteria. Overall, contamination appears to be low in Tasman’s coastal waters, but occasional peaks do occur, often following periods of rainfall.

Changes in land use, such as conversion of native forest to other purposes, often lead to increases in sediment loading to rivers and the marine environment. In Tasman, too much fine-grained sediment entering our estuaries is an issue and marine life has suffered. Disturbance by fishing activity has substantially modified soft-sediment habitats on the seafloor. Research has revealed local fish and shellfish stocks are depleted compared to historical levels. As a council, we cannot limit fisheries activity for fisheries management purposes, but we are able to manage the effects of fishing for protection of biodiversity.

Managing our coastal and marine environment and development is an important job for council. There are sometimes competing uses and values at play. We want to provide communities, iwi, and industry with the infrastructure and controls that enable their wellbeing and livelihoods, while protecting what is important to us.

The intrinsic values of the marine environment provide a sense of belonging for many New Zealanders. Tasman’s marine areas and their bordering catchments have complex interrelationships that need to be understood and managed, to ensure that their values are protected, restored, or enhanced over time. Tasman District Council works with iwi, communities, industry, and other stakeholders to enable sustainable and appropriate use of coastal and marine environments.

In these episodes of the Tasman Environment Plan podcast, TDC Policy Planner Tania Bray talks marine environment and Planner Stephanie Styles talks coastal areas in the Tasman District.

Snapshots from the District

A small selection of Tasman's iconic beaches and coastal places.

Further resources