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Major Re-crafting Of Marine Policies And Systems

EMABARGOED UNTIL 2PM 20 JANUARY

Office of the
PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSIONER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Te Kaitiaki Taiao a Te Whare Päremata


"Setting Course For A Sustainable Future"-PCE Report Recommends Major Re-crafting Of Marine Policies And Systems

Wellington, 20 January 2000-The enormous ecological, economic and cultural value of New Zealand's marine environment may not be realised unless we dramatically increase our understanding of the marine world and make some major changes to existing management systems, said the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in a report presented today in Parliament.

"New Zealand can not afford another Spirits Bay, Poor Knights oil spill, or boom-bust orange roughy fishery. The values and management systems that permitted these desecrations will not sustain New Zealand's marine ecosystems and industries in the 21st century," said Dr Morgan Williams, commenting on his report today.

"Setting a new, more sustainable course will be a challenge requiring strategic and innovative approaches. There is no doubt that there is a way forward, and I have recommended to the Prime Minister that an Oceans Task Force be set up to develop a strategy and action plan for the future sustainable management of our marine environment," he said.

The report-Setting Course for a Sustainable Future: The Management of New Zealand's Marine Environment-is an overview investigation that examines: the continuum of values and expectations, the range of rights and responsibilities, and the adequacy of existing information to manage the large and complex systems that make up the marine environment.

"The overview study of New Zealand's marine world shows a picture that is full of opportunity and optimism, yet deeply disturbing in its narrow and fragmented focus and limited ability to acknowledge and integrate both ecological and economic values," reports Dr Williams.

The report's key findings state that:
· New Zealand's lack of marine knowledge is a serious environmental and economic risk.
· Current marine management structures are arbitrary, fragmented, and lacking a coherent overarching strategic focus that integrates diverse interests and values.
· Tangata whenua are strategic partners in achieving marine sustainability.
· The current commercial fisheries rights regime cannot, by itself, ensure sustainable management of the resource.

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For more information contact: Dr Morgan Williams, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on (04) 495 8357 or (025) 410 048.

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