A new marine reserve, whale and seal sanctuaries, and fishing
reserves have been announced for Kaikoura.
The government will introduce a bill to enable the new
reserves, with the aim of improving the management of
Kaikoura's coast and ocean.
Conservation minister Nick Smith said Kaikoura's marine
environment was particularly rich because of its deep 500m
canyon so close to shore.
"These measures will benefit Kaikoura's whales, dolphins,
seals, albatross, rock lobster, shellfish and finfish as well
as helping to sustain Kaikoura's $134 million a year tourism
industry," he said.
The new measures include a 10,000ha marine reserve focused on
deep waters of the canyon, a 4600 square kilometre whale
sanctuary, and the Ohau point fur seal sanctuary.
Three small maitaitai reserves have been established to
protect customary fishing beds, along with two larger
taiapure fishing reserves, or locally-managed recreational
Recreational catch and size limits have also been altered due
to concern about fishing stocks.
WWF-New Zealand said the new measures would protect wildlife
and benefit New Zealand's economy.
"Looking after our environment brings term long-term economic
benefits and it is great to see that approach being taken
here," said executive director Chris How.
"This package should be complemented by an end to oil
exploration off the Kaikoura coast. It would be a tragedy to
see all this good work, and the local economy put at risk by
an oil spill," he said.
The Kaikoura Marine Management Bill will be introduced to
parliament this week, with the aim of having the new
protections in place by 2015.