Dunedin environmental lawyer Maree Baker-Galloway, at St
Leonards, is looking forward to helping bring a marine
protected area to Otago. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The group which will lead the fight to change Otago's
status as the only region not to have marine protection will be
led by Dunedin environmental lawyer Maree Baker-Galloway.
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced on Saturday the
appointment of a 14-member community-led forum to consider
marine protection for the Otago coastline. The forum's
members include representatives from conservation groups, the
fishing and tourism industries and scientists.
It has been charged with finding a consensus around the
marine protection options for the coast between Timaru to the
north and Waipapa Point in the south.
''It is my ambition that this group will follow the success
models of forums that have established marine protection in
areas such as Fiordland, the West Coast and the Subantarctic
Islands,'' Dr Smith said.
Despite Otago's ''spectacular coastline being home to some of
our most endangered species such as the yellow-eyed penguin,
the northern royal albatross and the New Zealand sea lion''
it was without marine protection, Dr Smith said.
Ms Baker-Galloway, who works for Anderson Lloyd, said her
appointment was ''very exciting'' and she was looking forward
to the challenges of bringing a diverse group of people with
a range of interests and who were often in conflict together
to understand each other's point of view.
Another challenge would be to understand the complex science,
wildlife and fishing information they would need to digest.
''It's going to be technically complex.''
She anticipated for the first year the group would gather
information from a variety of sources, then take time to
understand it, before coming up with some draft ideas to
present to the public.
''For this to be enduring the public has to have a real
opportunity to take part and help shape it.''
The collaborative approach was different for many when it
came to environmental resource management but she was hopeful
it would have a positive outcome for Otago.
The forum was expected to convene next month, with the
expectation its recommendations would be delivered to the
Government in late 2015.
Otago MPA members
Maree Baker-Galloway (chairwoman), environmental lawyer;
Neville Peat, Dunedin city councillor and Otago Natural
History Trust chairman; Sue Maturin, Forest and Bird Otago
Southland field officer; Philippa Agnew, Oamaru Blue
Penguins' resident scientist and PhD student; Fergus
Sutherland, Catlins ecotourism operator; Nelson Cross,
retired Nugget Point fisherman; Tim Ritchie, co-founder Paua
to People and recreational paua harvester; Carol Scott,
Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company chief
executive; Simon Gilmour, CRA 7 executive officer; Ate
Heineman, Carey's Bay fisherman; Dr Chris Hepburn, University
of Otago Aquaculture and Fisheries Programme director; Steph
Blair Ngai Tahu, Awarua Runanga, Invercargill; Edward
Ellison, Ngai Tahu representative, Otakou runanga kaumatua;
John Henry, Ngai Tahu, Arowhenua runanga chairman John Henry.