Northland's coastline includes 14 major harbours, numerous smaller estuaries and extensive stretches of rocky and sandy open coast. The Northland Regional Council carries out monitoring of the region's coastal environment to record the state of this resource, the effects of human activity and changes over time.

Northland's coastal waters are a valuable environmental, economic, social and cultural resource. The importance of the coast to Northlanders was reflected in the response from the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) community consultation survey, which identified ‘beaches and coastlines' as Northland's top strength throughout all Districts.

Maintaining and protecting coastal water quality is important for:

· Maintaining healthy coastal and marine ecosystems

· Recreational uses such as swimming, sailing, water skiing and scuba diving

· Fishing, shellfish gathering and marine farming and

· Tourism

Stormwater drain outlet.

Photo: Stormwater drains can carry contaminants off the land into coastal waters