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Subantarctic marine reserves a positive drop in the ocean

Subantarctic marine reserves a positive drop in the ocean

WWF–NZ heralded the creation last night of three Subantarctic Islands marine reserves as a positive step but cautioned that a comprehensive plan for marine protection in New Zealand waters is needed.

The Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Act, passed in Parliament yesterday, sets up three new marine reserves in this isolated, biodiverse and globally significant environment in New Zealand’s southern ocean, and is the culmination of a process that started in 2006.

“We are delighted the Government has set up marine reserves around the Subantarctic Islands because this kind of protection is vital if we are to be effective stewards of our oceans and the animals that live there,” said WWF-NZ Head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff.

“However, while new reserves are welcome, what New Zealand needs most of all is a comprehensive plan for looking after our marine environment. We all need to be clear on where we want protection, where we can fish and what other type of activities will be allowed. Let’s do it once and lets do it right. Our oceans deserve it.

“Legislation to set up a comprehensive marine spatial plan for looking after our oceans should be a priority for this Government and whoever is in power for the next term.

“This plan needs to include setting aside our most ecologically important marine habitats and a good starting point would be to create a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. Protecting this nearly pristine area, home to an amazing array of marine life, would be a significant step in global marine conservation.


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