Otago coast, ocean areas in marine protection plan

Boulder Beach on the Otago coast. Photo: John Barkla
Boulder Beach on the Otago coast. Photo: John Barkla
An area of South Island coast and ocean including parts of the Otago coastline and waters is being tagged for protection under a proposal supported by the Government.

Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage have decided to progress a comprehensive marine protection network for an area the size of Auckland in the southeastern South Island. 

The South-East Marine Protection Forum last year put forward two options for a marine protected area network from Timaru in South Canterbury, to Waipapa Point in Southland.

“After careful consideration we have decided to consult on progressing the larger Network 1 option which covers 1,267 km2 and includes 18 of the 22 coastal habitats in the Forum area, seven of 12 estuarine habitats and two biogenic habitats,” Nash said.

“This network was the option favoured by the science, environment, tourism, and community sectors of the forum, as well as one of the two recreational fishing representatives,’’ he said.

“The Government is committed to protecting our environment and valuable marine biodiversity,” Sage said.

Map: Supplied
Map: Supplied
Public views on the areas proposed for protection will again be sought.

“We want to hear from tangata whenua, the community and stakeholders on how to progress Network 1 because it best meets the objectives for protecting biodiversity under the Government’s Marine Protected Areas Policy,” Sage said.

“We believe this option will create the best protection for important habitats and feeding areas for marine mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates.”

Progressing Network One will be consulted on and considered under existing legislation using the Marine Reserves Act and the Fisheries Act. The next step under the legislation is to carry out statutory processes to create the marine protected areas, which means people will have further opportunities to comment on the proposals.

The Department of Conservation and Fisheries NZ plan to release a document for public submissions later this year.

 

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