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Wellington Marine Reserve

Forest and Bird welcomes the Minister of Conservation's approval of a marine reserve application for Taputeranga on the Wellington South Coast. Forest and Bird is the joint applicant for the Taputeranga Marine Reserve and has been running a marine reserve campaign over the last summer.

The Taputeranga area has important ecological values, which a marine reserve will help protect. These values include: * A high diversity of species due to the area being at the northern and southern limit of many fish, invertebrate and algal species, and due to the area being at the confluence of three oceanic water bodies resulting in a mixture of warm, cold temperate and sub-Antarctic fauna and flora; * The richest diversity of large seaweed with almost half of all the known macroalgal species occurring along this coastline; * Rare shellfish including the greenish limpet, Montfolia chathamensis, which is only found here and at Kaikoura and the Chatham Islands.

"We hope that the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport will give concurrence as soon as possible," says Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager. "A marine reserve on Wellington's doorstep will be a fantastic ecological asset for the city. It will increase fish numbers throughout the Wellington area and is likely to become a significant tourist attraction. There are likely to be both substantial ecological and economic spinoffs from a marine reserve on the South Coast".

Marine reserves are proving very popular. Over 250,000 people per year visit Leigh Marine Reserve.

Forest and Bird looks forward to progress with this and other applications. This application now joins 4 others awaiting the concurrence of the Minister of Fisheries. Three of those applications are by Forest and Bird.

"We would like to see all the existing applications approved as soon as possible. The delays by successive Governments in processing these marine reserve applications are just not acceptable", says Mr Pyle. "This Government has a poor track record on creating marine reserves. It has not created a single one".

Mr Pyle said progress on this application was a testament to the dedicated work over 10 years by members of the Wellington Branch of Forest and Bird and the Marine Reserve Coalition. Ends

Notes:

Forest and Bird and the South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition applied for a marine reserve around Taputeranga Island in 2000 and Forest and Bird has made three other applications around the country.

Marine reserves also help improve fishing in the area. Fish grow bigger in marine reserves and bigger fish produce more young.

Forest and Bird is also calling on the Government to commit to developing a network of marine reserves around New Zealand. Developing single marine reserve applications is time consuming and inefficient. What is needed is for the Government to design a network for New Zealand.

Forest and Bird is currently running a campaign seeking the establishment of more marine reserves, with the byline "I love marine reserves". See www.forestandbird.org.nz/marine

Ends


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