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Seamount Protection Welcomed

14 May 2001

The Forest and Bird Protection Society today welcomed the implementation of measures to protect 19 seamounts from trawling.

Society spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said the protection of 19 underwater mountains was a major step forward in the conservation of New Zealand's deepwater marine biodiversity.

"We are delighted that the Minister of Fisheries, Pete Hodgson has taken his responsibilities seriously and protected a range of underwater features. One of these features, the Bollons Seamount is over 100 nautical miles across."

Mr Weeber said this action would help protect deep sea corals up to several metres high which are smashed by trawl nets. "These coral, like orange roughy, are long-lived. Gorgonian corals have been aged by NIWA at over 500 years and bamboo corals at over 300 years."

"More action will inevitably be needed to protect additional seamounts from fishing after further documentation of the environmental impacts of fishing is collected."

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