Environmental Protection Policy

Abel Tasman Eco Tours are advocates for environmental protection, we believe that we have a responsibility to care for and protect the environment in which we operate. We are fully committed to improving environmental performance across all of our business activities, and will encourage our business partners and members of the wider community to join us in this effort. Abel Tasman Eco Tours recognises our key impacts to be in the areas of: 
Use of fossil fuels and associated emissions.

  • Waste generation
  • Water use
  • Use of mechanical lubricants
  • Disturbance to wildlife through vehicle operation

We will strive to:

  • Adopt the highest environmental standards in all areas of operation, meeting and exceeding all relevant legislative requirements.
  • Assess our organisational activities and identify areas where we can minimise impacts.
  • Minimise waste through careful and efficient use of all materials and energy.
  • Purchase sustainable products wherever feasible [e.g. recycled, FSC or low environmental impact products and energy from renewable sources].
  • Publicise our environmental position.
  • Train employees in good environmental practice and encourage employee involvement in environmental action.
  • Reduce risks from environmental, health or safety hazards for employees and others in the vicinity of our operations.
  • Adopt an environmentally sound transport strategy.
  • Assist in developing solutions to environmental problems.
  • Continually assess the environmental impact of all our operations.
  • Adopt the seven principles of ‘leave no trace’ and run through these at the start of day briefing.
    Abel Tasman Eco Tours have developed a series of action plans to supplement each of our environmental policy objectives. Abel Tasman Eco Tours will periodically review performance and publish these results on our website.
Signed: Stew Robertson [Managing Director]

Environmental Protection Outcomes

To fulfill our environmental protection strategy, Abel Tasman Eco Tours has achieved:

2013 – Developing the Abel Tasman’s only ‘Eco’ focussed interpretive tour, highlighting conservation initiatives and healthy eco system processes.

Ongoing – Delivery of environmental messages to schools, through presentations, citizen science projects and assisting to organise clean up days.

2013 – Undertaking beach clean ups every year and co-ordinating a sub-tidal dive clean up of Adele and the Anchorage in 2014 and 2017.

2013 – Providing a sustainable tourism policy for Abel Tasman AquaTaxi.

2015 – Accepting invitation to sit on the committee of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust as a representative of the commercial operators in the park.

Ongoing – working with conservation group Project Janszoon on scientific surveying of the park and developing biosecurity measures for the offshore islands.

2013 and ongoing – By consulting with scientific experts we have developed ecological and historical interpretation manuals for the Abel Tasman as a whole , plus specific manuals for the guided walks we do.

Ongoing – Donating $2 per ticket to conservation in the Park; ATBST on our coastal tour and Otuwhero Trust on our inland tour.

Ongoing – Offering free passage to any staff from other companies in the park who wish to enhance their environmental interpretation skills.

2014 – Ongoing – Member of the Experiencing Marine Reserves Programme, delivering marine conservation messages to children and the wider public.

Ongoing – Adopting the principles of the ‘leave no trace’ policy and communicating these to clients at the start of the day.

Ongoing – removing any foreign objects from the environment if safe to do so, we carry a landing net on board the vessel for this purpose. If unsafe or unfeasible we report these objects to the Department of Conservation or the TDC Harbourmaster.

Adopting a custodial role over our Marine Reserve, and reporting any misconduct within to DoC.

Developing our own marine mammal watching protocols and attending the DoC SMART operator training course. We are the park’s first certified SMART operator.

Ongoing – using the most economical marine outboard on the market and full servicing of all of our vehicles to ensure maximum efficiency and cleanliness, and researching the viability of alternative clean energies.

Specifying conservative use of vehicle operation in our Standard Operating procedures to minimise fuel usage and impact on the environment and wildlife.

Only using ‘Marine Safe’ lithium grease, conservatively to avoid waste and overspill into the environment. Using EcoFix lubricant on all of our gear.

Ongoing – through the trip log system, identifying any hazards or points where we can improve our environmental advocacy.

Ongoing – Minimising our use of single use plastic, by using cake boxes and milk containers. Re-filling ink cartridges, double sided printing etc.

2017 – Formation of marine environmental group Tasman BayGuardians, find our strategy and more information here.

2018 – Formation of a native tree restoration scheme – Abel Tasman Tree Collective, enabling local operators to collect funds from visitors in order to plant native trees in the Abel Tasman Region. 100 volunteers appeared at our first planting day in Marahau, putting 2000 trees in the ground. We also funded the renovation of the DOC community nursery in our first year. 

2018 – Tasman Bay Guardians becomes a Charitable Trust, acting as a provider organisation for Experiencing Marine Reserves and Whitebait Connection educational programmes, co-ordinating Abel Tasman Tree Collective and working through our strategy on conservation gains for the marine space of Tasman Bay.

2019 – Organised the Abel Tasman Beach Cleanup – 65 Volunteers, 5 vessels, a litter audit, grafitti removal at Mosquito Bay and 200kgs of rubbish removed from Abel Tasman beaches.

2019 – We officially opened the newly renovated DOC community nursery.

2019 – Calculated our carbon emissions and working on quantifying their mitigation.

2019 – Facilitated a study on the protected Separation Point Bryozoan corals.

2019 – Stew accepted on the Tasman Bio Strategy working group, attended the marine focus group for the NZ biodiversity strategy, instigate and integrated marine spatial plan for Tasman Bay through the Nelson Biodiversity Forum.

The seven principles of ‘leave no trace’

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

By having an active safety and environmental policy, we can safely guide clients through a pristine environment, taking all care to minimise disturbance to wildlife and habitat through excellent communication and etiquette.

2. Travel on Durable Ground

Only use formed walking tracks and access ways, taking care to avoid damage to tree roots and vulnerable soft vegetation.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly – All rubbish comes out of the park with us and no rubbish to be thrown overboard in any circumstances.

4. Leave What You Find – Beautiful things such as feathers, shells, seaweeds and artifacts are cool to find, and we must leave them for the discovery and learning of others. Small children may take one shell each for their learning, but they must find out the name of that shell.

5. Minimise the Effects of Fire – We operate a no smoking policy on all of our trips, this is for the comfort of other clients and to minimise the risk of fire in the bush.

6. Respect Wildlife and Farm Animals – We operate under a strict code of conduct not only around marine mammals but with respect for all wildlife. Maintain a respectful distance (unless initiated by the animal), no loud noises, no feeding, no touching (apart from the guide in rock pools). **rock pool animals are tolerant to disturbance due to the nature of their habitat. We limit this however by briefing that only the guide handles the organisms.

7. Be Considerate of Others – Always consider other users needs both directly such as staying calm and silent, and also by applying the previous six principles and leading by example.

The Golden Future logo: dreamed up by Stew, made real by Sonia Forsey and polished by John Currin. Brochure and poster design by Mat Tait. Zeehaen was beautifully branded by Andy Lowe and Fred the Image Creators. …check the local talent!