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Marine Reserves, More Fish, Good Idea!


Marine Reserves, More Fish, Good Idea!

New Zealand Underwater, The National diving organisation is thrilled with the release of the discussion document regarding a proposal to turn Northlands Mimiwhangata Marine Park into a full no-take marine reserve. The comprehensive document outlines a collaboration with Iwi, DOC and independent scientists who are all very concerned at the decline of many fish species, shellfish and crayfish in this beautiful part of Northlands coast, says Marine biologist, Peter Crabb.

Crabb says that New Zealand Underwater supports any initiatives that will help to maintain marine biodiversity and set aside more areas for marine protection. The media is full of horror stories about marine depletion and over fishing, something that scientists have been saying for a long time. We seriously need more marine reserves as less than 1% of our marine area is any form of marine protection, Crabb says.

It is exciting Crabb noted that the level of concern in Mimiwhangata is such that local Maori are relinquishing the right to customary fishing in this area and have united their energy with DOC's Northland Conservancy in this proposal for a no take marine reserve.

The proposed area contains a uniquely concentrated array of underwater features typical and representative of Northlands coast. These habitats incorporate deeper water communities with shallow mixed seaweed communities and reefs amongst variable geology, Crabb Says.

Befitting the 2001 Biodiversity Strategy, this proposed area incorporates an on land reserve with an in the water reserve and has good public access and infrastructure.

There is no doubt from research conducted at other Marine Parks turned into marine reserves that there will be an almost immediate recovery of the marine life. The potential of this area for helping scientists to understand our coastal biology and processes will be invaluable as there is much scientifically collected data that already exists, and the documentation of the recovery can tell us a great deal more. The lessons from Goat Island tell us that.

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