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New report on marine environment welcomed

Hon Dr Nick Smith

Minister for the Environment

27 October 2016

New report on marine environment welcomed

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith has welcomed a report released today on the challenges facing our marine environment, jointly published by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.

Our marine environment 2016 is the first individual “domain” report produced under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015, which came into effect in June this year. The report identifies key issues facing our oceans, including the effects of excess global greenhouse gases on ocean acidification and warming, the threat to native birds and marine mammals and the state of coastal habitats.

“New Zealanders feel a strong connection to our marine environment, and this report clearly demonstrates the need to understand and carefully manage our oceans. We are committed to addressing these challenges,” Dr Smith says.

“New Zealand has long led the world in protection of the marine environment. We were the first country to ever implement a marine reserve policy, and we must continue advocating on the international stage for marine stewardship and integrated marine management.

“We are committed to achieving a number of international obligations, including targets under the UN Sustainable Development Goals, UN Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets, Convention of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“We will also introduce new legislation next year to replace the outdated Marine Reserves Act. This legislation will go before Parliament early next year. It will bring our marine legislation into the 21st Century, recognising that we need varying levels of protection.”

Environmental reports are fundamental to understanding and addressing environmental challenges - an area where data has been lacking, Dr Smith says.

“This report is a key step towards a better understanding of the impact of human activity on the seas around us. We must better understand the state of our oceans to properly manage them. Reports such as this are helping us build a better picture of the challenges we face, although we know there is still more work to be done.”


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