Call To Save Lake Pearson’s Grebes
Thursday 2 August 2001 - Christchurch
Forest and Bird is calling for the Lake Pearson/Moana Rua Advisory Committee to be wound up. The Committee made almost no progress in developing rules controlling motorboat use needed to save the endangered grebes. There are only around 250 southern crested grebes left in New Zealand.
“The next grebe breeding season is less than three months away. It is time for the Conservation Minster to take action – the Committee is doing nothing,” said Forest and Bird researcher Geoff Keey.
The Lake Pearson/Moana Rua Advisory Committee was to report back in October 2000, prior to the start of last summer’s breeding season. The Advisory Committee has not yet reported back to the Minister and has only met once this year.
“Another year could go by without adequate protection for the grebes,” said Geoff Keey. “Forest and Bird is tired of waiting for the Committee to make a decision. Its tardiness risks ongoing motor boat disturbance to the grebes,” Geoff Keey said.
Over the previous breeding season, the Committee failed to put in place effective protection for the grebe. A voluntary ban was ignored by recreational boaties and was abandoned part way through the breeding season. The Committee defaulted to the Water Recreation Regulations which are routinely ignored on Lake Pearson/Moana Rua. “It is now time for measures that work,” Geoff Keey said.
The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society has written to Conservation Minister Sandra Lee asking that she write the rules for the Lake Pearson/Moana Rua wildlife refuge herself, unless the Advisory Committee reports back by August 17 this year.
Under the Wildlife Act, rules can be applied when Lake Pearson/Moana Rua refuge is gazetted, restricting the use of boats in order to protect southern crested grebe on the lake.