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Marlborough Sounds Fisheries Crisis

Marine Reserves Needed To Help Solve The Marlborough Sounds Fisheries Crisis

As part of its I love marine reserves campaign, Forest and Bird is calling for a network of marine reserves to be established throughout the Marlborough Sounds to help solve the fisheries crisis. Currently there is one formal marine reserve and a few informal ones in the Marlborough Sounds.

"The dire state of the fishery highlights the need for more marine reserves in the Marlborough Sounds," says Eric Pyle Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager. "The collapse of the fishery in the Marlborough Sounds highlights the fact that the quota management system does not provide the total solution to sustainable fisheries management".

In addition to their scientific and conservation values, marine reserves benefit fish stocks and lead to an overall increase in fish numbers. "Everyone wins with marine reserves; fishers, people wanting to swim with lots of fish in the sea and conservationists," says Mr Pyle.

Marine reserves are also very popular with the public. More New Zealanders visit marine reserves than visit national parks. "A network of marine reserves in the Marlborough Sounds would create significant tourism opportunities," says Mr Pyle.

"The spillover from marine reserves makes a significant contribution to fisheries" says Mr Pyle. "Also, fish grow bigger in marine reserves and bigger fish produce more young meaning, potentially, more recruitment into the fishery". In the Hauraki Gulf scientists estimate that 5km of marine reserve coast produces as many snapper eggs as 90 km of fished coast.

"Scientific research is showing that marine reserves are needed as part of a sustainable system of marine management" says Mr Pyle. "Marine reserves are needed together with the quota management system and effective enforcement of recreational fishing rules to ensure there are fish for the future". Forest and Bird also recognises the role Maori fisheries management tools, such as rahui, taiapure and mataitai can play in enhancing biodiversity and that these can be complementary to no-take marine reserves.


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