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West Coast marine reserves pass final hurdle

West Coast marine reserves pass final hurdle

Five new marine reserves on the West Coast at Kahurangi, Punakaiki, Okarito, Tauparikaka and Hautai have passed their final hurdle with concurrence being granted by the Minister for Primary Industries, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“I have carefully considered the impacts of these proposed reserves on the commercial, recreational and customary fishers and have given my concurrence under the Marine Reserves Act for their establishment,” Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“These five new marine reserves on the West Coast will protect some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Species that will benefit include marine mammals like the Hector’s dolphin and New Zealand fur seals, fish like sharks, cod and long-finned eels, and seabirds like the Westland petrel, white-fronted terns and blue and Fiordland crested penguins. The reserves will complement the extensive network of land-based areas on the West Coast, reinforcing the region as a nature wonderland,” Dr Smith says.

“The strength of these West Coast marine reserves is that they have been recommended by the West Coast Marine Protection Forum involving Ngāi Tahu, commercial and recreational fishers, conservationists, tourism operators and councils,” Mr Guy says.

“The National-led Government is aiming to complete a record number of marine reserves this year as part of our balanced programme of economically developing some ocean areas and setting aside others for permanent protection,” Dr Smith concluded.

Ends

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