Turtles visit Tutukaka’s Poor Knight’s Islands

A swathe of warm blue water has begun its passage along Northland's coastline bringing with it fish of all sizes and even some giant sea turtles.

Leatherback turtles - Tutukaka. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

BIG SWIMMER: Leatherback turtles like this one have been spotted in the Bay of Islands and Tutukaka. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Swimmers, divers and fishers in the briny around the region have noticed warmer waters with reports of the sea temperatures reaching 24 degrees. But while there are those celebrating the tropical-like conditions scientists are warning of the impact of global warning.

Fishing guru and television presenter Graeme Sinclair had been out in the Bay of Islands and reported plenty of yellow fin tuna being caught this summer, something that had not happened in recent years.

Mr Sinclair said the El Nino global weather pattern was responsible and while he was near the Nine Pin trench off the Bay of Islands he and his son had spotted a leatherback turtle measuring about 2.5m in length. At the same time they saw three marlin in water that had reached 24 degrees last week.

It also meant there had been mahimahi spotted and plenty of sunfish enjoying the warm water temperatures.

“There’s lots of bird life so that mean’s lots of fish life … it’s bloody magic.”

Tutukaka angler Peter Saul, of the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club, said the temperature gauge on his boat showed the water temperature last week had been 23 degrees.

He said the East Australian Current flowed passed the Northland coastline and thanks to recent calm sea conditions the warm layer of water had not been mixed up with the cooler layers below. “If you get 20-knot westerlies it tends to chop up,” Mr Saul said.

Mr Saul had also spotted a leatherback turtle, about 3m in length, just inside the Poor Knight Islands. There were also plenty of Manta and Devil rays around the Knights.

Marlin were starting to be caught including one hooked by former MP Shane Jones who landed a 305.9kg blue marlin in the Bay of Islands.

While the warm climes were good for fish life, veteran marine environmentalist Wade Doak, who lives on the Tutukaka Coast, said people did not want to face up to the facts of global warming. “I don’t think people are considering the long term consequences of this warming. We need to be listening to the scientists who say this is like an alarm.”

Article from The Northern Advocate.

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