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Appeal Court to hear Motiti coastal marine protection case

Forest & Bird will be in the Court of Appeal Tuesday and Wednesday, defending the ability of regional councils to protect their coastal marine species and habitats from the effects of fishing.

“Forest & Bird is pleased the Crown has changed its position, and is no longer significantly opposing last year’s High Court ruling on this issue,” says Forest & Bird CE Kevin Hague.

However, the conservation organisation will be arguing against the views of three commercial fishing organisations which are seeking to overturn the High Court’s decision. They are the NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council, Fisheries Inshore NZ, and the Pāua Industry Council.

“Every year, thousands of seabirds and hundreds of marine mammals die on commercial hooks and in trawl and set nets, and only a tiny proportion of our coastal sea is protected in marine reserves," say Mr Hague.

“The High Court’s decision almost a year ago has important consequences for local communities seeking to protect threatened animals like Hector’s and Māui dolphins, yellow-eyed penguins, and seabirds which are often victims of fishing activities, but which the government and inshore fishing interests have shown little interest in protecting.

“This is why it’s so important New Zealand has locally-based methods available to protect our ocean environment. Our current tools are limited, and lack options for community input.

“Several regional councils, including Bay of Plenty and Marlborough, have already taken action to protect their unique coastal environments following the High Court’s decision last year. Forest & Bird is looking forward to making the case in defence of these new marine protection methods over the next two days.”

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