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Launch Of Forest & Bird's Marine Reserve Campaign

Forest and Bird will launch its marine reserve campaign at Leigh Marine Reserve on Sunday, 9th December, 2001 at 2.30 pm.

The campaign, with the slogan “I love Marine Reserves”, seeks thousands of signatures on colourful banners which will be circulated around the country’s beaches during the summer. The banners will be presented to Parliament to coincide with World Oceans Day in June. The first banner will be unfurled in a ceremony at Leigh Marine Reserve.

At the launch participants will be asked to observe a minutes silence to pay their respects to the late Sir Peter Blake. In one of the last emails he sent he lent his support to Forest and Bird’s Marine Reserve Campaign. A fitting legacy to Sir Peter would be the establishment of a network of marine reserves around New Zealand.

“Marine Reserves are a vital part of protecting the marine environment” says Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager. “But well under 1% of New Zealand’s coastal is protected in marine reserves. We need more of them.”

Marine reserves benefit fish stocks and lead to an overall increase in fish numbers in the sea. “Everyone wins with marine reserves; fishers, people wanting to swim with lots of fish in the sea, and conservationists,” says Mr Pyle.

Forest and Bird’s recognises the role Maori fisheries management tools, such as rahui, taiapure and mataitai can play in enhancing biodiversity and that these can be complementary to no-take marine reserves.

This Government has a poor track record in creating marine reserves. In two and a half years this Government has not created a single one. “The Ministers for Conservation and Fisheries need to put more pressure on their officials to process the 8 marine reserve applications around New Zealand, four of which have been submitted by Forest and Bird. The Government needs to hear the message that New Zealanders want more marine reserves and want them now,” says Mr Pyle.



Launch details

The launch will comprise of:

- Divers emerging from Leigh Marine Reserve carrying the inaugral “I love Marine Reserves” banner.

- The banner will be unfurled in front of a crowd of people all wearing “I love Marine Reserve T-shirts”.

- There will be short speeches from :

„« Dr Bill Ballentine, the “father” of marine reserves in New Zealand.

„« Christine Rose, Deputy Mayor of Rodney District.

„« Jeroen Jonjegans, President of New Zealand Underwater.

- A minutes silence to pay respect to the late Sir Peter Blake.

- The crowd will be asked to sign the banner and the public visiting Leigh will then be invited to sign it.

Aims of campaign

- Forest and Bird seeks 20% of our seas being protected by a network of no-take marine reserves

- To gain government commitment to produce a draft plan and implementation strategy for an integrated network of marine reserves by June 2002.

- Create a marine park on Auckland’s Wild West Coast, including a Ramsar (wetland of international importance) site at Kaipara Harbour, West Auckland.

- Create of a marine protection system, including marine reserves, for the Fiords of Fiordland.

- Completion of the revision of the Marine Reserves Act and and an Act that sets out an easier process for securing marine reserves.

- To raise awareness of the declining health of our seas.

Forest and Bird’s recognises the role Maori fisheries management tools, such as rahui, taiapure and mataitai can play in enhancing biodiversity and that these can be complementary to no-take marine reserves.

New Zealand needs more marine reserves

Marine reserves protect approx 0.1 percent of our EEZ.

Only 4% of New Zealand's territorial sea (area inside 12 nautical miles from the shore) is protected by marine reserves.

The Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve makes up over three quarters of the 4% total. The Kermadec Islands are about 930 kilometres (400 nautical miles) north-east of the Bay of Islands.

If the Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve is excluded, less than 1% of New Zealand's mainland coastline is protected by Marine Reserves.

Current marine reserves

1. Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve (1981). North-east of Whangarei.

2. Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (1975). Near Leigh, Auckland.

3. Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve (1995). Just north of Auckland.

4. Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve (1995). Waitemata harbour, Auckland.

5. Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve (1992). South-eastern end of Mercury Bay, Coromandel Peninsula.

6. Mayor Island (Tuhua) Marine Reserve (1992). North-east of Tauranga Harbour.

7. Te Tapuwae o Rongokako (1999). Just north of Gisborne.

8. Te Angiangi Marine Reserve (1998). Cape Kidnappers, East Coast.

9. Kapiti Marine Reserve (1992). 50 kilometres north of Wellington.

10. Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve (1993). Queen Charlotte Sound

11. Tonga Marine Reserve (1993). Abel Tasman National Park.

12. Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve (1994). North-west coast of the South Island. The marine reserve and adjacent wildlife management reserve protect one of New Zealand's largest and most unspoiled estuaries.

13. Pohatu Marine Reserve (1999). Flea Bay, Banks Peninsula.

14. Piopiotahi Marine Reserve (1993). Fiordland. Both this reserve and Te Awaatu have a unique underwater environment created by a layer of tea-coloured freshwater which sits on top of the salt water. This allows deep water species such as black and red corals and sea pens, normally found on the deeper continental shelf, to live in shallower water.

15. Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut) Marine Reserve (1993). Fiordland.

16. Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve (1990). It is New Zealand’s largest marine reserve. It is approximately 400 nautical miles north-east of the Bay of Islands. It surrounds the 4 main islands in the Kermadec group.

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