Management of vehicle and horse users on sand beaches: Implications for shellfish populations
A review of management documents and peer reviewed literature was undertaken to evaluate the level of protection intertidal shellfish are given from vehicle and horse users on sand beaches. Database searches were conducted to find policies that related to vehicle and/or horse management on sand beaches. Using findings from peer reviewed literature, policies were assessed for how shellfish populations could be impacted. For example, policies that concentrate vehicle traffic into specific areas which contain shellfish were considered to have negative impacts because literature has shown heavy traffic has detrimental effects. Internationally, policies controlling vehicle and horse users utilise five common options: complete bans, seasonal closures, permits, area-based and zone-based designation. These management options usually focus on erosion prevention and ensuring safety of users with little consideration of ecological impacts. When ecology is considered, this concentrates on protecting the more visible species (e.g. nesting birds) rather than infaunal biota. Shellfish were not directly mentioned in any management policies that control vehicle and horse users. Shellfish in New Zealand are protected similarly to the rest of the world, and no policies designed to directly benefit these types of animals. Vehicle and horse users on sand beaches are controlled with bylaws; the creation and implementation of which depends on each local authority. Management of these users therefore does not occur uniformly over New Zealand regions. Where bylaws are in place, these generally confine vehicle and horse users to the intertidal zone; areas that shellfish, such as tuatua (Paphies donacina) and toheroa (P. ventricosa), are abundant. Seasonal beach restrictions are also generally rare, with the amount or type of traffic used on the beach unregulated. In order to successfully protect intertidal species such as tuatua, scientific information which identifies and describes the distribution, vulnerable life-stages and the relationship between beach traffic and shellfish vulnerability is needed.
SubjectsField of Research::05 - Environmental Sciences::0502 - Environmental Science and Management::050204 - Environmental Impact Assessment
- Science: Reports