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Marine reserve consultation released

9 December 2004

Results of Great Barrier marine reserve consultation released

Results of the analysis of submissions on the Department of Conservation's application for a marine reserve on Great Barrier Island's north-eastern coast have been released today.

In total, 3513 submissions were received on the Aotea (Great Barrier) Marine Reserve Application, which was notified in August. Of these, 1261 submissions objected to the proposal, while 2219 submissions supported it. A further 31 submissions expressed qualified support or opposition. There were also two petitions - one in support and one in opposition.

DOC Auckland Conservator Rob McCallum said the submissions had provided a good picture of how people used the proposed marine reserve area and how they might be affected by it.

"People have raised a range of concerns about being adversely affected by the marine reserve. The department now needs to respond to these in a report to the Minister of Conservation."

Mr McCallum said the number and quality of submissions reflected people's interest in the proposed marine reserve area and marine conservation in general.

DOC will now prepare a report to the Minister of Conservation on the marine reserve application, incorporating the objections to the proposal.

The department will also advise the Minister to seek an independent review of its application process, as is provided for in the Marine Reserves Act. This process is likely to take several months.

The Minister will decide on the marine reserve after considering objections and the merits of the application.

The proposed marine reserve is 50,1000 hectares (two-thirds the size of Tongariro National Park) and covers an area from The Needles to just south of Whakatautuna Point on the Great Barrier north-eastern coast and out to the 12-mile limit. The area is considered outstanding for its high quality marine habitats and diverse sea life.

ENDS

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