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Marine Reserve Proposed For Wellington

On Wednesday 18th October the South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand (Inc). will make public their application to establish a marine reserve on Wellington’s south coast.

“This reserve will be a jewel on Wellington’s coast”, said Coalition spokesperson Andrew Cutler. “The south coast is an area of great beauty and significant scientific interest. We believe the area is perfect for a marine reserve.”

Investigations into establishing a reserve in the area were begun by the Department of Conservation in 1988. In 1991 local residents, divers and conservationists formed the South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition and have promoted the proposal since that time. The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand (Inc). is co-applicant.

“The application is based on extensive consultation with iwi, the local community, business, recreational and commercial fishers and local authorities. Now it is the turn of the public to have their say on the proposal. We encourage the public to pick up a copy of the application and make a submission.”

The area being proposed for a reserve runs from an un-named bay just west of Owhiro Bay Quarry eastward to Te Raekaihau Point, a distance of about four kilometres. The total area of the reserve will be approximately 970 hectares. The proposed name for the reserve is Taputeranga, after the Island in Island Bay.

“During our consultations we put forward three alternative sets of boundaries. As a result of the comments we received we have decided on boundaries that are the best compromise between creating a scientifically useful reserve and maintaining access to the coastline for recreational and commercial fishers.”

Under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 the primary purpose for establishing a reserve is scientific research. No marine life can be taken from a reserve, meaning that all recreational and commercial fishing has to end. The public is encouraged to use reserves for educational and recreational purposes that don’t destroy marine life.

“The area we are proposing for a reserve is next to Victoria University’s Marine Laboratory, and close to other major research institutions such as NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) and Te Papa. During our investigations we discovered that 87 books, theses and articles have been written on the area over the past thirty years. This is a tremendous baseline of research to build on.”

Mr Cutler said he believed the proposed reserve would cement Wellington's growing reputation as an environmentally friendly city.

"No other city in New Zealand, or in the world, will be able to boast a marine reserve within such easy reach of the public. Along with the Karori Sanctuary, the pest-free Matiu / Somes Island and the Otari Native Botanic Garden, a marine reserve will cement Wellington's status as the 'Conservation Capital'".

Submissions on the application are open until December 18th, 2000, and should be sent to Taputeranga Marine Reserve Proposal, C/- South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition, PO Box 4183, Wellington. Copies of the application are available free of charge at Wellington Public Libraries, the Department of Conservation’s Wellington Office, on the internet at www.forest-bird.org.nz. Additional copies of the application are available from the applicants c/- PO Box 4183, Wellington for a cost of $5.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Andrew Cutler
South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition
Ph: 021 44 99 32

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