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Call for submissions for Marine Mammal Sanctuaries

27 June 2008 Media Statement
Call for submissions for Marine Mammal Sanctuaries

A Notice of Intention to establish four new marine mammal sanctuaries was announced today by Acting Conservation Minister Mahara Okeroa. The public have until 23 July to make a written submission on the proposals.

Mining and acoustic seismic surveying restrictions will apply in the sanctuaries, increasing the protection of the unique and endangered Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins.

The four new marine mammal sanctuaries are in areas where the dolphins are known to frequently range - West Coast of the North Island, Clifford and Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, Porpoise Bay/Fortrose on the Catlins Coast, and Te Waewae Bay on the South Coast.

A Notice of Intention to redefine the existing Banks Peninsula Sanctuary has also been announced today by Mahara Okeroa. “Restrictions on acoustic seismic surveys in all sanctuaries and sea-bed mining in some areas of the West Coast North Island sanctuary will considerably reduce threats to dolphins by reducing any possible impacts from acoustic and seabed disturbance,” Mahara Okeroa said.

The current restrictions in the sanctuaries will seek to manage non-fishing threats to the dolphins. All methods of fishing will be allowed within the sanctuaries, other than those prohibited under fisheries legislation.

The measures are part of the Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin Threat Management Plan which has been carefully designed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry of Fisheries to achieve the best possible outcome for the endangered dolphins.

“The threat management plan ensures the best combination of threat mitigation tools, both fishing and non-fishing, are used to protect these dolphins.”

The sanctuary proposals were first announced during the draft Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin Threat Management Plan consultation in August 2007 and follows measures to manage fishing threats recently announced by the Minister of Fisheries.

These Notices of Intention have been published in the Gazette today. For more information, go to www.doc.govt.nz.

ends

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