58 nominations for marine protection forum

Nominations from as far as Wellington have been received for the Otago Marine Protection Planning Forum.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced in October a 14-member forum would be set up to investigate areas suitable along the Otago coast from between Timaru and Waipapa Point for marine protection.

Fifty-eight nominations had been received, mostly from Dunedin, but also from Oamaru, Ashburton, the Catlins, Balclutha, Tapanui, Temuka, Wanaka, Nelson, Blenheim and Wellington.

The Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries will now consider the nominations and make recommendations to their respective ministers, who would make appointments by year's end.

Doc's South and Eastern South Island Partnerships director, Barry Hanson, said Doc and MPI were pleased with the calibre of nominations, which were received from Ngai Tahu and interested parties such as commercial and recreational fishers, recreational users, marine scientists, the tourism sector, conservation groups, local government and local community groups.

Once established, the forum would consult interested users and stakeholders to come up with recommendations on marine protection.

It would identify where protected areas should be and the appropriate protection.

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