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School pupils commended for new marine reserve


School pupils commended for new marine reserve

Forest and Bird today welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Conservation to approve three more marine reserves covering 3280 hectares.

Forest and Bird’s senior researcher Mr Weeber said that current and former students from Kamo High School should be proud that the Government has agreed to protect two out of three areas of Whangarei Harbour that the pupils had proposed.

“These school students have made a real difference for marine conservation which will benefit current and future generations,” he said.

“While the new reserves are small they include the first reserve in Taranaki, the first reserve in a northern Harbour and the first reserve in the Eastern Bay of Plenty,” he said.

"Marine conservation is decades behind conservation efforts on land, but today’s announcement is a good step towards correcting that imbalance. Many people may be surprised that less than one percent of New Zealand’s mainland coast is protected in marine reserves,” he said.

“These approvals are in line with a poll in March 2005 which showed that 95 percent of New Zealanders wanted more marine reserves,” he said.

Mr Weeber said it was disappointing that all the proposals had significant areas removed from them before they were approved.

Notes:

Currently the proportion of mainland New Zealand's coastal waters in this form of protection is less than one percent, yet about 33 percent of land is protected for conservation purposes.

The new marine reserves to be gazetted are:

Whangarei Harbour – two areas - (231 ha);

Volkner Rocks, Eastern Bay of Plenty near White Island (1290 ha);

Parininihi in North Taranaki (1790 ha).

Four additional marine reserve applications have yet to be approved. They include the proposed Taputeranga marine reserve on the Wellington South Coast which was a joint application by Forest and Bird and South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition.


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