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This paper describes progress on the implementation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 that provides for the protection of surf breaks in New Zealand. Reporting on a survey of councils and practitioners it identifies barriers to the implementation of the policy statement.
In a detailed analysis, Small and Nicholls (2003) found that the coastal population is approximately three times the global average and that it is commonly believed that coastal migration is continuing and growing. Lazarow (2007) estimates that 86% of Australians live within 30 minutes of the coast, while in small island nations the entire population is coastal. Development to support growing coastal populations puts pressure on many resources, including the natural features that create surfing waves (e.g., Anonymous, 2003; Lazarow, 2007; Mead et al., 2007; Pratte, 1987). It is asserted by this paper that the features that form a surfing break are a resource that possesses recreational amenity values. Surfing breaks need protection as these amenity values are important resources for coastal communities, both socially and economically (Lazarow, 2007; Lazarow, Miller, and Blackwell, 2007a, 2007b; Nelsen, Pendleton, and Vaughn, 2007). Some environmental legislation, e.g., New Zealand’s Resource Management Act (1991, Section 7c) already requires the protection and maintenance of these recreational amenity values.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) approach is used here to archive, process, visualise and analyse hydrographic soundings and metadata, including the development of a custom GIS application. The GIS method uses ArcGIS Desktop v9.2 with an ArcSDE geodatabase running on a SQL Server 2005 database management system (DBMS). The client-server computer architecture allows the storage, backup and distribution of soundings to be undertaken by a more powerful server computer, while visualisation and analysis of the data is undertaken by the client computers. The GIS solution can be integrated within other GIS and software over a network or via the internet. Soundings can be searched, identified, edited, exported or converted to new data products from within client GIS software. The GIS method prototyped here shows potential for disseminating soundings to a number of uses, and future research will need to optimise the GIS performance.
New Zealand was the first country in the world to adopt surf break protection within its resource management framework. Surf breaks are now specifically provided for under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010. These developments resulted from a groundswell of interest from the grassroots surfing community, backed by an improved knowledge of surf break environments that has been developing internationally. At the community level, learning from previous examples of surf break degradation has contributed to the current level of awareness. There remains, however, an urgent need to improve our understanding of issues for management, underlying causes, and potential remedies. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4667779.v1
Surf breaks are natural resources that provide substantial value to communities around the world. Following decades of coastal development that largely ignored these features, New Zealand and Australia have established innovative approaches for their protection. These are centred on national level initiatives that are now well established in coastal management frameworks. Through a case study approach this study evaluates the implementation aspects with a particular focus on effectiveness. The findings illustrate major differences between the systems. New Zealand has recently developed national policy that provides direct statutory protection for nationally important areas, and improved attention to regionally and locally important surf resources. Implementation is driven by regional jurisdictions through a hierarchy of policies and plans, and in practice, has proven extremely variable. Comparison of regional planning approaches shows inconsistencies in the scope and design of implementation methods that directly affect the level of protection provided. However, this compares to a prior situation of almost no statutory protection. Despite wide variance in the protection actually afforded, there are now over 250 surf breaks identified by statutory protection mechanisms. The Australian system utilises a non-statutory approach driven by a community organisation to address similar issues and objectives. The programme provides a consistent framework that facilitates high levels of protection where it has been applied. However, it has resulted in a relatively small number of implementations to date and relies on a high level of human agency. Compared to the extent of the surf resource this highlights potential issues for scalability. Comparing the strengths and weakness of each country's approach shows that the characteristic limitations affect different aspects of policy implementation. Combining the successful aspects of each will assist progress towards the sustainable management of surf resources.