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DOC's Call To Proceed With Marine Reserve Correct

2 August 2004

DOC's Call To Proceed With Marine Reserve the Right One

It is a necessary and well-timed stand that The Department of Conservation are taking on this first day of conservation week to launch their application for a marine reserve for Great Barrier Island, a large and very worthy site. Marine conservation is running a poor second cousin to terrestrial conservation and the Auckland Doc office is to be applauded for taking a stand that goes towards redressing the current inequity, says New Zealand Underwater Association's marine biologist, Peter Crabb.

New Zealand's marine area, the fourth largest of any country in the world contains well over half of New Zealand's biodiversity, yet is only protected at a level of less than 1%. Our National Parks are treasured environmental assets and New Zealand Underwater absolutely endorses all moves towards setting such areas of the coastal marine area aside as marine reserves, says Crabb.

The concept of a marine reserve is so simple, you just set aside a well-defined area and leave it alone permanently. This is important for science, recreation and conservation. Scientists can only study an area that is not being interfered with order to understand it. Many people have now realised that living trees and live whales have an economic value far in excess of that which is derived from a single felling or one-off slaughter. While marine reserves do not allow taking, or disturbance, the 300 thousand annual visitors to Goat Island Marine Reserve, says loudly there is a need and a desire for places to show our grandchildren native marine life undisturbed, says Crabb.

Crabb points out that recent discovery of hitherto undescribed life in the deep-seas around our coast has sped the urgency to protect those deep and open areas of the New Zealand marine environment. This proposed reserve area extending to the 12 mile limit means that not only are important shallow representative areas of the coast protected, but those deeper and open areas can be included in one management area.

Aotea reserve can be something all New Zealanders are extra proud of and New Zealand Underwater urges everyone to write a supporting submission for the sake of their grandchildren.


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