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Biodiversity Funding - Marine Reserves

BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY FUNDING - MARINE RESERVES
Thursday 8 June 2000

The Government will spend an extra $11.5 million on increasing the number of marine reserves around New Zealand over the next five years, and providing for their management. This funding is part of a comprehensive five-year package involving conservation, environment, fisheries and biosecurity, confirmed in this year's Budget to support the Government's Biodiversity Strategy. It links to the strategy's goal to halt the decline in New Zealand's biodiversity and will also support the government's strategic goal of protecting and enhancing the environment.

The project

The project aims to speed up the creation of marine reserves, which will also lead to the protection of a wider range of marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Funding will also be used to monitor the trend and condition of marine reserves.

Under threat

Only about 0.1 per cent of New Zealand's territorial sea is protected in marine reserves, if the large marine reserve around the far north Kermadec Islands is excluded from consideration. Add this in and the total protection expands to a mere four per cent. The current marine reserve network is not representative of the range of New Zealand's distinctive coastal and marine habitats and ecosystems.
Marine reserves provide a way of preserving marine areas in their natural state and provide opportunities for scientific study. All marine life within them can be totally protected from fishing, allowing fish, shellfish and other marine life to flourish and degraded areas to recover to a more natural state. Reserves also benefit animals like seals, penguins and other seabirds that breed on the land but feed in the sea.
People can visit marine reserves and activities like swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and picnicking are encouraged. While fishing is not usually allowed within reserves, the increasing fish life potentially improves fishing outside their boundaries.

Actions

This comprehensive approach to marine reserves is addressed in a variety of ways:
• Supporting the setting up of new reserves
• Supporting the maintenance of all existing and new reserves
• Improving iwi support for marine reserves through a dedicated iwi liaison manager
• Improving public support through the development and implementation of a public awareness strategy
• Supporting research to address the critical knowledge gaps about where best to set up marine reserves and how big they should be

Community partnerships

Marine reserves benefit all New Zealanders. This project proposes to better involve tangata whenua and other communities in the setting up and management of marine reserves.

Funding package details

All figures in $m, GST inclusive.

2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 Total
$1.205 $1.605 $1.930 $2.935 $3.820 $11.495

For further information, please refer to http://www.biodiv.govt.nz

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