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Marine Reserves Good For Fishing - Greens

The Green Party has welcomed today's release of a discussion document reviewing the Marine Reserves Act, saying more marine reserves will help maintain good fisheries.

"The international literature suggests that protecting 20 per cent of our marine area will maximise fishing potential in the other 80 per cent," said Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The Green Party believes we should aim for 20 per cent protection, the Government says 10 per cent. It will be interesting to see which way the review goes."

She also emphasised the need to take a simple, no-fishing approach to marine reserves.

"The experience with the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve suggests that allowing limited fishing in reserves simply doesn't work," she said. "The rules need to be crystal clear - either fishing or no fishing.

"If limited fishing is required then taiapure and mataitai reserves or controls through the Fisheries Act can achieve that."

Jeanette Fitzsimons said that the review offered the opportunity to initiate deep water marine reserves.

"At the moment marine reserves can only be within 12 miles of the shore, but there are incredibly diverse ecosystems around seamounts in particular that also need protection."

Jeanette Fitzsimons applauded the Minister of Conservation's recognition that marine reserves needed to be established for conservation and recreation as well as scientific purposes.

"We protect national parks simply because we appreciate them as they are and want to keep them in their natural state, not because we can use them for something," she said. "We should take the same approach to the sea.

"I'm delighted to see Sandra Lee implementing an election pledge, shared by the Alliance, Greens and Labour Party, to review the Marine Reserves Act."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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