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Stewart Island fisheries reserve becomes a reality

30 December, 2004

New Stewart Island fisheries reserve becomes a reality

The Te Whaka a Te Wera mätaitai reserve at Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, came into effect today, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope says the establishment of the mätaitai reserve will promote sustainable management of the inlet’s fisheries resources, while providing for customary food gathering by Maori.

Paterson Inlet is around ten thousand hectares in area, with 188 kilometres of coastline. It extends 16 km inland from a narrow entrance and includes extensive intertidal mudflats around the mouths of the Freshwater and Rakeahua Rivers.

It has long been prized for its fishery, with high water quality and range of habitats supporting stocks of important species such as blue cod, paua, scallops, rock lobster, and kina. The mätaitai reserve encompasses about 80 percent of Paterson Inlet. It excludes the recently established Te Wharawhara-Ulva Island Marine Reserve and the marine farming area within Big Glory Bay.

“There is a history of community involvement in the management of Paterson Inlet’s fisheries resources and I am pleased that this will continue," said Mr Benson-Pope. "The appointed Tangata tiaki/kaitiaki appointed for the purpose will manage the reserve with the input and participation of local user groups.

“The mätaitai will be managed in a sustainable manner using modern resource management techniques and tikanga Mäori in a complementary way. I believe that the mätaitai and the marine reserve will complement each other and enhance both fisheries and biodiversity in Paterson Inlet.”

The mätaitai reserve’s management committee, which will be made up representatives of local residents and tängata whenua, will be responsible for developing and implementing a management plan and proposing bylaws for the reserve. The committee will establish an advisory group including staff from regulatory agencies, recreational fishers and marine farming to assist in the development of the plan.

Te Whaka a Te Wera is New Zealand’s third mätaitai reserve. The others are both on Banks Peninsula, at Rapaki in Lyttelton Harbour and at Koukourorarata – Port Levy.

ENDS


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