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Government scrimps on marine reserves

26 August 2011

Government scrimps on marine reserves

The announcement of five new marine reserves on the West Coast is a missed opportunity that leaves the Government well short of its own goal of 10 percent of our marine environment being protected, the Green Party said today.

A recent report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) showed our oceans were in a worse state than previously suspected and were entering a phase of unprecedented marine species extinction.

“Creating these five new reserves is useful, but urgent action is needed to put more of our marine environment into reserves as soon as possible in order to protect our marine species from extinction,” said Green Party oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“Today’s announcement only increases our marine reserves from 0.4 percent to 0.414 percent of our total marine environment.

“The announcement doesn’t even cover 10 percent of the West Coast marine environment.

“Today’s announcement needs to be put in context. Minister Wilkinson has gone for the option that delivers the smallest increase in marine reserve, despite having more wide ranging options available to her.

“It appears the Minister has caved to fishing interests by not supporting the larger Kahurangi option that went right to the 12 mile limit and along a greater stretch of coastline.

“The Government’s approach to protecting our marine environment is two faced. It pays lip service to our oceans while handing out permits to oil companies to deep sea drill in our waters.

“Allowing the Marine Reserves Bill to languish in select committee for nine years is evidence of successive Governments failing to care about our oceans.

"Our oceans are in urgent need of greater protection. Passing the Marine Reserves Bill and moving to 10 per cent of our marine environment being protected as soon as possible would be a good start."

ENDS

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