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Marine reserves good, comprehensive marine protection better

Marine reserves good, comprehensive marine protection better

WWF welcomed the formal opening of the Akaroa Marine reserve but called for a comprehensive plan for marine protection in New Zealand waters.

“It is great to have the Akaroa marine reserve officially opened as this is a good way to protect the local marine environment and the animals that live there, said WWF-NZ Head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff.

“But to look after New Zealand’s oceans as a whole what we really need is an ambitious, comprehensive plan for our marine environment. Small reserves by themselves are not enough.”

Akaroa Harbour marine reserve will encompass 5.1 km2 in the south-east area of Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula. The Minister of Conservation, Hon Dr Nick Smith formally announced his approval for the reserve on 14 April 2013. It was officially opened today for World’s Ocean Day.

“On World Ocean’s Day, the government should be living up to its international commitment to protect 10% of New Zealand’s oceans. As of today we have only protected 0.5% and at the current rate it will take us hundreds of years to reach that modest target.

“The Minister should be applauded on his commitment to creating a representative network of marine reserves but we need a level of ambition commensurate with the scale and ecological importance of New Zealand’s marine environment, so we need a process that looks at our whole EEZ.

“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.

“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.”

ends

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