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Proposed marine reserve in Whangarei

2 December 2004

Carter approves proposed marine reserve in Whangarei

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has approved a new marine reserve complex in Whangarei Harbour originally proposed by the students of Whangarei's Kamo High School.

"I am delighted to announce that I have given my approval to a modified version of Kamo High School's proposed marine reserve in Whangarei Harbour, and it will now pass to the Minister of Fisheries for his concurrence," Mr Carter said from Whangarei today.

"The proposal will see two marine areas set aside for protection around Motukaroro (Passage) Island and at Waikaraka. In total the reserve will affect only 231 hectares or 2.2 per cent of Whangarei Harbour, leaving numerous areas for local people to fish," Mr Carter said.

“From the time when this application was formally notified in 2002, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has conducted broad consultation with affected groups. As a direct result of that consultation, the proposal to include Motumatakohe (Limestone) Island in the reserve has been removed.

"I am confident the remaining areas of the reserve will act as an important nursery for the spectacular marine life in Whangarei Harbour. The seabed surrounding Motukaroro Island is a feeding ground for an unusually high diversity of fish, and the reserve will also include mangroves, and tidal flats that support a myriad of marine animals and seabirds," Mr Carter said.

“The marine environment in the Whangarei Harbour is of such distinctive quality that its continued preservation is in the national interest. To that effect, I have directed DOC to work closely with the Northland Regional Council, and the community on improving the conservation and sustainable management of the harbour, particularly the areas around Motumatakohe Island.

"This proposal has been the subject of 12 years of discussion and I would like to extend my thanks to the past and present students of Kamo High School who have worked so hard for this reserve. Marine protection is all about ensuring a full range of our extraordinary marine life survives for our children and our children's children. It is very appropriate that a group of young people should have initiated this process."

ENDS

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