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Akaroa reserve just a drop in the ocean

Akaroa reserve just a drop in the ocean


Forest & Bird is welcoming today's opening of a marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour by the Conservation Minister Nick Smith, but says it will not change the fact the government is not doing nearly enough to protect New Zealand's marine environment.

The Akaroa Marine Reserve will be opened at a ceremony at 11 am today. The reserve covers 475 hectares of water.

"By contrast, New Zealand's territorial and Exclusive Economic Zones cover 400 million hectares. And 99 per cent of those waters are open to deep sea oil drilling and various types of seabed mining," says Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

"New Zealand has the world's fourth largest marine jurisdiction. It is so vast, a third of the world's seabird species and nearly half of the world's whale, porpoise and dolphin species have been reported within it. Because of this, New Zealand has a particular duty to look after its marine areas.

"That's a duty we aren't living up to. For instance, there is not a single full no-take marine reserve within any part of our EEZ. So none of the really deep water species found in this part of the world, or the birds that live most of their lives in our EEZ, have those parts of their habitat protected by New Zealand law," Kevin Hackwell says.

"Forest & Bird supports the plan for a 620,000 square kilometre Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary within New Zealand's north-eastern EEZ as a bold step to better protect our marine environment," he says.

"It is great to finally have the Akaroa Marine Reserve. It is a credit to the many people who have worked many years to achieve it.

"Unfortunately though it's just a drop in the ocean compared to the area that should be protected," Kevin Hackwell says.

ends

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