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Reserve Coalition supports local fishing fleet

MEDIA RELEASE
South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition
19 January, 2005

Marine Reserve Coalition supports local fishing fleet

“If the Marine Reserve Coalition has its way commercial fishermen will continue mooring and landing their catch in the Island Bay Embayment,” said South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition spokesman Andrew Cutler.

Mr Cutler was responding to concerns expressed by commercial fishers in today’s Dominion Post.

“The truth is that the concerns expressed by commercial and recreational fishers are greatly exaggerated. When a reserve is gazetted the Minister of Conservation can include conditions allowing activities such as the mooring of commercial fishing boats to continue. These issues were all extensively reviewed at the time of the original application, in October 2000, and the Marine Reserve Coalition has confidence that the Ministry’s of Fisheries and Conservation will resolve these concerns when final consideration of the proposal is undertaken.”

“The Marine Reserve Coalition acknowledges that the fishing fleet is an important part of the local community, and accordingly has made it clear in the past that we do not wish to prevent these activities from continuing. We will continue to advocate this position to the Ministers of Fisheries and Conservation. We have every confidence that the reserve is not a threat to the future of the Island Bay fishing industry, and we believe Wellington can have both a marine reserve and retain the Island Bay commercial fishing fleet."

“With regard to safety issues, and the concern that the reserve will force boat fishers to use areas outside the reserve, these issues were extensively canvassed during consultations with commercial and recreational fishers in the mid-1990s, and as a result of their input the boundaries of the proposed reserve were altered to exclude Lyall Bay and the Sinclair Head – Owhiro Bay Quarry area.”

“Furthermore, at the time of the formal application in October 2000 the Maritime Safety Authority raised no safety concerns, the New Zealand Police noted that no area of Cook Strait was safe and that fishermen already extensively used areas along the coast outside the area of the reserve, and lastly the Harbour Master did not raise any significant issues.”

“User surveys undertaken by the Marine Reserve Coalition and the Ministry of Fisheries confirm the view of the Police that recreational and commercial users are fishing along the whole south coast anyway. A survey of boat users undertaken by the Marine Reserve Coalition in 1996 – 1997 found that only two of 23 boat users did not already use areas outside the then much larger proposed reserve for fishing and that 85% of boat users used other areas, such as Kapiti, Mana and Makara for recreational activities.”

“The Ministry of Fisheries own research into recreational use, undertaken in 2000, found that only 7.8% of fishing trips in the region were in the area that includes the proposed reserve, and that areas such as Mana Island/Porirua Harbour, Plimmerton to Sth Raumati, Makara Coast and Cape Terawhiti to Sinclair Head were all more popular.”

“These issues were all addressed in the original application, and we are confident that the marine reserve will be beneficial to the local community and Wellington as a whole.”

ENDS

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