Otago marine panel announced

Dunedin environmental lawyer Maree Baker-Galloway will head the new Otago Marine Protection Planning Forum.

Otago is the only region in New Zealand that does not have a marine reserve and that would be one thing the 14-strong panel would look at over the next two years.

Ms Baker-Galloway said it would be an interesting process.

''We have got a full representation of interest from commercial through to tourism, through to environmental and recreation so there will definitely be differences of opinion and we will work through those.''

She said the purpose of the panel was to find out what was important to the various communities in a vast swath of coastline from Timaru to Waipapa Point.

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced the appointments on Monday.

Ms Baker Galloway said they had a wide range of tools to choose from including the Fisheries Act and the Resource Management Act.

''What I am keen to see is for us to make full use of the range of mechanisms there are to look after and manage both commercial and environmental values.''

Recommendations were due to be presented to the Minister for Conservation and the Minister of Fisheries by the first quarter of 2016, after the community had been consulted on them.

Panel members are: Maree Baker-Galloway (chairwoman), Neville Peat, Sue Maturin, Philippa Agnew, Fergus Sutherland, Nelson Cross, Tim Ritchie, Carol Scott, Simon Gilmour, Ate Heineman, Dr Chris Hepburn, Steph Blair, Edward Ellison and John Henry.


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