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New marine reserve approved near Nelson

8 March 2005

Seaweek: New marine reserve approved near Nelson

Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope today celebrated Seaweek by announcing a new marine reserve near Nelson city.

The marine reserve will stretch for 5km from Glenduan, on Nelson’s landmark Boulder Bank, to Ataata Point, at the south-western entrance to Cable Bay, and extends out one nautical mile from the shore. It covers 948 hectares.

"Glenduan marine reserve is a significant addition to New Zealand's network of protected marine environments. It will enhance the Nelson region’s superb coastal environment and its reputation as a centre of excellence for marine studies, " Chris Carter said.

The Minister congratulated the Forest and Bird Protection Society for their work in identifying the values of the area and nominating it for marine reserve status.

The reserve will contain a variety of marine habitats including extensive offshore boulder reefs that extend from 100 to 400 metres out to sea. These reefs are distinctive of the Boulder Bank, which in itself is a geologically unique landform of international standing.

Marine life found within the reserve will include typical reef-dwelling species, such as starfish, bryozoans, seaweeds and sponges, as well as a variety of fish, such as tarakihi, goatfish, blue cod, marble fish, and wrasses.

“An important attribute of this marine reserve is its accessibility. It is close to Nelson city, making it an ideal site for school children, scientists, divers and snorkellers to visit and study marine life," David Benson-Pope said.

"The area should gradually revert back to a more natural state eventually displaying the characteristics of other well established marine reserves. We can expect some of the species within it to grow bigger and become more abundant," he said.

The marine reserve will formally come into being once it has been gazetted in the next few months. At that point no fishing, taking or disturbing of marine life will be allowed within its boundaries. Other forms of non-extractive recreational use will be encouraged.

Editor's note:

The Glenduan marine reserve is the fourth created by the government since 2002, and the 20th in New Zealand waters.

New Zealand's marine area is 15 times larger than its land area but only about 0.26 per cent of this marine area is currently protected compared to about 30 per cent of New Zealand's land area.

All of the marine reserves around the coast of mainland New Zealand cover an area less than the smallest of our 14 national parks on land.

Seaweek is a celebration of New Zealand's marine environment and runs from 6-13 March.

The Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries have agreed that a ‘generational’ review (25 years) of the Glenduan marine reserve would be appropriate, to assess whether it continues to meet the purpose of the Marine Reserves Act.

ENDS


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