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Carter approves marine reserve at Volkner Rocks

25 January 2004

Carter approves marine reserve at Volkner Rocks

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has approved a new marine reserve proposed around the Volkner Rocks near White Island in the Bay of Plenty.

"This reserve promises to be one of the most exciting in the country. It will protect a spectacular volcanic marine habitat that is an important breeding area for up to 60 species of fish, and home to several rare species of crab," Mr Carter said.

"Spanning 1444 hectares, the proposed reserve is located in crystal clear water very close to an increasingly important tourism spot. It will include elaborate reefs, pinnacles and near vertical rock faces offering unique diving opportunities. I have every expectation the reserve will add to the appeal of the Bay of Plenty as a major summer recreation area," Mr Carter said.

He said the proposed reserve, named Te Paepae Aotea (Volkner Rocks), had been put forward in 1999 by the Whakaari Marine Protection Steering Committee, a group made up of fishers, iwi, tourism operators, conservationists and government agencies.

"There has been a long history of attempts to establish protection for marine environments in the vicinity of White Island, and this reserve proposal is the result of a great deal of discussion and consultation about ways of achieving protection," Mr Carter said.

"Many local people are deeply concerned to preserve the extraordinary bounty that communities like Ohope and Whakatane have on their doorstep, particularly as use of the sea increases. I have nothing but admiration for the efforts of these people and I want to take this opportunity to thank them."

The proposal will now pass to the Fisheries Minister and the Transport Minister for their concurrence with Mr Carter's decision.

ENDS

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