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Proposed protected marine areas have the potential to cost the commercial fishing industry more than $3 million through the removal of an estimated 238,517kg of catch.
The Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand are seeking public feedback on a proposed network of marine protected areas off the southeast coast of Otago, the first of its kind in the South Island.
Covering almost 1300sqkm, the proposed network includes six marine reserves, where marine life would be fully protected and fishing banned, five marine protected areas, which would impose a range of restrictions to fishing, and one kelp protection area where commercial harvest of bladder kelp would be prohibited.
Figures in the consultation outline the impact the moves would have on commercial fisheries in the areas.
The lobster industry appears set to take a big hit, with 17 tonnes, worth $1.84million, to go from the Te Umu Koau Marine Reserve off Palmerston, and smaller reductions in other reserve areas.
Other fisheries, including the red gurnard, blue cod and school shark fisheries would also take significant reductions.
Last year, the Ministers of Fisheries and Conservation announced their intention to consult on the proposed network, which is one of two options put forward by the South-East Marine Protection Forum in 2018 for marine protection in the region.
Doc planning director Natasha Hayward said the marine habitats were under pressure from the effects of human activities, including climate change.
"We want to hear from the public to get their views on establishing a marine protection network to protect a range of coastal and estuarine habitats and feeding areas for marine mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates."
Submissions close on April 17 and will inform the final decisions on the marine protection proposals.
Marine reserve — fishing, mining and the disturbance of all marine life and habitat banned; administered by Department of Conservation.
Marine protected area — restrictions vary; administered by Ministry of Fisheries.
Kelp protection — commercial harvest of bladder kelp prohibited; administered by Ministry of Fisheries.