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Flawed and Unambitious Marine Protected Area Proposals

Wednesday 13 January 2016 – Wellington – ECO Media Release

Flawed and Unambitious Marine Protected Area Proposals

ECO today challenged the Government to think again on its flawed marine protection proposals which fail to cover the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and will weaken protections.

ECO spokesperson Barry Weeber said the Government’s MPA proposals weaken protection of whales and dolphins, and will leave New Zealand well behind arrangements in Australia which provide for significant protection in their EEZ.

“The Government’s failure to include protection mechanisms for the EEZ from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore and the continental shelf was a major step back from previous Government proposals and from international norms.”

“This is no New Year’s present for the marine environment.”

Mr Weeber said the proposals will undermine protection of whales and dolphins as it would restrict marine mammal sanctuaries to territorial sea, the 12 mile limit. Now they can cover any area in the EEZ.

“Current law allow marine mammals sanctuaries to be created to cover any part of the EEZ.”

Mr Weeber said it had been recognised for over 20 years that the marine reserves legislation should be extended to cover the EEZ. “This was included in legislation first introduced to Parliament over 12 years ago.”

“What we need is much stronger legislation which steps up to protect the ocean ecosystem.”

Mr Weeber said as proposed Marine reserves will not be able to play a significant role in protecting our marine biodiversity.

“The absence of a clear policy and legislative framework for marine protection in the EEZ and continental shelf will just result in loss of biodiversity and greater resource conflict.”

Mr Weeber said the policy was lacking in much detail on the implementation of proposals which will make it difficult for submitters to respond.

“The Ministry for the Environment clearly needed to do more work on these policy elements before the proposal was released.”

ends

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