Communities celebrate marine reserve’s 5th anniversary
South coast communities celebrate marine reserve’s 5th anniversary
The Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve joined locals, Wellington City Council and DOC on Saturday to celebrate the reserve’s 5th birthday.
To mark the occasion, Wellington City Council provided 150 trees to plant near the Island Bay snorkel trail site.
Since the Wellington reserve was established in August 2008, the Friends of Taputeranga have been working on initiatives to raise awareness about the reserve, and supporting DOC in enforcing the strict ‘no take’ rules.
Taputeranga is on Wellington’s doorstep, providing easy access to study, interact with and record marine life and habitats. In 2010 the Friends of Taputeranga opened a snorkel trail at Island Bay to encourage people to explore one of New Zealand's most dynamic coastal environments.
“The Friends provide a vital link between DOC and the community. The support they provide has been a huge contribution to the success of Taputeranga,” said DOC Community Relations Programme Manager, Matt Barnett.
Being one of New Zealand’s most urban marine reserves, there’s a high level of community watchfulness. There have been 25 prosecutions in the last 5 years, with another 10 cases in process. Those found fishing (including any attempt to take) or removing marine life from the reserve could be liable for a prison term up to 3 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
“It’s important that people understand what we’re trying to protect”, said Barnett.
“Initiatives like the snorkel trail and the education programmes provided by the Island Bay Marine Education Centre are great ways to experience the underwater environment.”