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Call For Marine Reform Supported

Forest and Bird Protection Society
PO Box 631

Media Release - Wellington - 20 January


The Forest and Bird Protection Society today warmly welcomed the recommendations in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the marine environment.

Society Spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said the report identified many of the problems with marine management including the destruction of underwater seamounts and the decline of fish populations.

"The Commissioner highlights the need for changes in marine legislation and how the Government administers the sea."

Mr Weeber said Forest and Bird had long been concerned at the integration between fisheries management and the Resource Management Act, the absence of consistent legislation and poor procedures for public participation in fisheries and maritime legislation.

"Reform of the management of the marine environment is long overdue. This report and the recent report of the Office of the Auditor-General should be urgently followed up by the new Government."

Mr Weeber said the time had come to develop arrangements which recognised the special relationship all New Zealanders had with the marine environment.

"The report of Office of the Auditor General was released late last year and it identified large gaps in fisheries information and the need for the Ministry of Fisheries to implement the environmental provisions in the 1996 Fisheries Act.

"The Society endorsed the comment of the Auditor-General that: the lack of research contracted by the Ministry [of Fisheries] - and the short-term focus of the small amount committed to environmental research - indicated that the Ministry (at present) has fallen short of the environmental principles of the 1996 [Fisheries] Act". (page 98)

Mr Weeber said the information gaps in the marine environment were also highlighted in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report.

For further information contact Barry Weeber (04)385-7374

Barry Weeber Senior Researcher Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society PO Box 631 Wellington New Zealand Phone 64-4-385-7374 Fax 64-4-385-7373 www.forest-bird.org.nz

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