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Time to commit to marine sanctuaries closer to home

Time to commit to marine sanctuaries closer to home

The creation of a marine protected area in Antarctica’s Ross Sea is a fine antidote to the grim report on New Zealand’s oceans that came out yesterday, the Green Party said today.

The comments come on the back of news that 25 countries have agreed to establish a marine sanctuary to protect the unique and pristine Ross Sea, a day after the Ministry for Environment and Stats NZ’s report into the dire state of oceans closer to home.

“A sanctuary in the Ross Sea will help keep this slice of Antarctica, home to many animals like penguins, seabirds, whales and seals, in its pristine state. It’s time the National Government made the same kind of commitment to our Exclusive Economic Zone, which is one of the largest in the world, and which the proposed Marine Protected Areas Act won’t preserve,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Yesterday we learned that 90 percent of our sea and shore birds are threatened with extinction. Let’s make sure we don’t lose them completely by extending the proposed Marine Protected Areas Act to include the EEZ, so that sanctuaries and reserves be created further afield from our shores.

“The Ross Sea sanctuary is guaranteed for 35 years in this new agreement, but we should be pushing for the sanctuary to be longer term.

“The National Government must make sure that proper monitoring of the sanctuary takes place. We’ve seen how fishers have flouted the law and been let off the hook by Ministry of Primary Industries officials in recent, so let’s make sure that the sanctuary is policed properly from the get-go,” said Mr Shaw

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