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Fiordland – A Park not a Port

9 April 2001 - Dunedin

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Fiordland – A Park not a Port

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society said today that the Fiords of Fiordland, including Doubtful Sound, deserve to be a marine park, not a Port.

Southland Water Company has applied to Environment Southland to bring a water tanker into Doubtful Sound up to 12 times a year to take freshwater from the Deep Cove tail race.

“Doubtful Sound in the heart of Fiordland is a remote marine area and home to many special plants and animals including black coral and it is not suitable for water tankers” Forest and Bird’s Southern Conservation Officer Sue Maturin said.

Conservationists are dismayed that they have to fight this battle again, as a similar proposal for the same area was turned down by Environment Court turned in 1997.

The Environment Court concluded in 1997 that although the possibility of a tanker foundering or a discharge of ballast water introducing a foreign organism are events of low probability, the consequences of these would have a high impact, which would be incapable of being avoided, remedied or mitigated.

“Forest and Bird considers that this proposal has many of the problems of the previous one. It still poses risks of oil spills and biosecurity risks of introducing unwanted exotic organisms via the ships’ hull or ballast water.”

The number of proposed tanker visits has been reduced from once a week to once a month, however Sue Maturin says the tanker, when ever it is in the fiord, will be visually intrusive and will destroy the sense of remoteness in Doubtful Sound.

“Deep Cove will become known as a place where tankers visit and it will turn Deep Cove into an industrial port” she said.

The Company suggests in its application that they can address the impact of the tankers on the natural character by offering compensation to tour companies for the days the tanker is in Port.

“Such a proposal is ludicrous. It is not possible to compensate for the loss of remoteness for all New Zealanders and visitors with dollars to tour operators” Sue Maturin said.

“Doubtful Sound is a special remote place and its outstanding natural values need to be protected for all New Zealanders and visitors. What is needed is not tankers and ports but for the area to be protected as a marine park.”

ENDS

Contact: Sue Maturin
Phone 03 477 9677 (work), 03 4876 125 (home) or 025 222 5092 (mobile)


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