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Catlin's mataitai supported

28 June 2005 - Dunedin

Catlin's mataitai supported

The Royal Forest and Bird Society today commended the Waikoau Ngai Tahu Rununga Incorporated Committee on their decision to go ahead with a Mataitai proposal adjacent to DoCs proposed Nugget Point Marine Reserve.

"Waikoau Ngai Tahu Runanga has an important role in the guardianship of the coast. A mataitai would compliment the marine reserve proposal and would enhance the management of the coast," said Forest and Bird Southern Conservation Officer, Rebecca Bird.

Ms Bird stated that "the marine environment north of the Nuggets needs protection and management so it is heartening to see local tangata whenua opting to manage this area through a mataitai."

Over 700 people, mostly from the local area have sent post cards to the Department of Conservation seeking an increase in the area of the proposed Nugget Point marine reserve.

"Criticism aimed DoC over its handling of the Nugget Point proposal was the result of a smear-campaign from opposers of a marine reserve who lacked any scientific reason on which to base their opposition. They seem to be hoping that DOC would give up on the proposal," Ms Bird said.

"Claims by fishers that the Nugget Point area is not degraded is a joke, she said that the state of paua and cray fisheries simply speak for themselves," she said.

Forest and Bird look forward to the proposal being released by DOC and are confident that a Labour government will give the proposal a chance given their commitment to the protection of the marine environment and their aim to have 10% of New Zealand's marine environment in marine reserves by 2010.

Notes:

1. Only 0.18 percent of the mainland territorial sea has been gazetted as marine reserves.

2. According to the Ministry of Fisheries latest stock assessment report (Sullivan et al 2005) on the Paua 5D (which includes the Nuggets) fishery:

"At the current catch levels and minimum legal size, the biomass is likely to decrease further and is unlikely to move toward the reference levels. These results suggest that the current catch level is not sustainable and will likely cause the stock to decrease further from reference levels of biomass in the next five years. Model projections with five alternative catch levels indicate that lower catch levels increase the chance and speed of rebuilding the stock."

3. The crayfish (or rock lobster) fishery is not in good health. The catch in Cray 7 has decreased from 133.4 tonnes in 1990/91 to 81.4 tonnes in 2003/04. Stock size for rock lobster in Cray 7 and 8 have been reduced down to 3.4-5% of their unfished biomass and are 19-28% below the estimated biomass that would support maximum sustainable yield (Ministry of Fisheries 2000).

ENDS


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