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Shine a spotlight on this bold initiative

15 February 2006

Shine a spotlight on this bold initiative

WWF is pleased that the fishing industry has taken this positive step toward limiting possible future impacts of bottom trawling in New Zealand.

“This is a bold initiative. WWF welcomes this long-range thinking about protection of seabed biodiversity and recognition of the damage caused by bottom trawling.

“We are glad that the fishing industry has accepted the need for a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that covers a range of marine species and habitats,” says Jo Breese, Chief Executive of WWF-New Zealand.

“However, the proposal includes areas that have been largely untrawled. It does not therefore minimise the impact in areas currently being bottom trawled.

“A careful assessment is needed to ensure that a complete range of seabed biodiversity is protected. Areas that are currently trawled should also be included and given a chance to recover,” adds Ms Breese.

“To ensure the right decisions are made on the areas to be closed the WWF initiated report, Shining a Spotlight, produced by New Zealand marine biodiversity experts and launched by the Minister of Fisheries in February 2005, is a critical source of information,” says Chris Howe, Conservation Director for WWF-New Zealand.

“This report is not currently referenced in the proposal.

“As a first step, the proposed closed areas and the information in Shining a Spotlight should be compared. For example, the Three Kings/Spirits Bay area, referred to in Shining a Spotlight as the New Zealand Marine Biodiversity hotspot, is not covered by any proposed closed area.”

Shining a Spotlight documents the work of twenty-two marine scientists who identified, described, and mapped key biodiversity areas and features for marine plants and animals.

ENDS

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