New Zealand Government Announces Marine Protection Boost

The New Zealand government said it is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealand’s oceans, with the announcement of six new marine reserves between Oamaru and The Catlins.

The country’s Conservation Minister Willow-Jean Prime said: “Protecting our oceans and their biodiversity for future generations is important. In August we announced our plans to protect the Hauraki Gulf. Today, we’re announcing six new marine reserves in the South Island.”

The creation of these new reserves increases the area in marine reserves around mainland New Zealand by more than two-thirds.

“This spectacular coastline from Oamaru to Southland is home to some of our most endangered species, like hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin, toroa/northern royal albatross and pakake/New Zealand sea lion.”

“It includes estuarine and tidal lagoons, rocky reefs, offshore canyons, giant kelp forests and deepwater bryozoan or lace coral thickets, and an array of marine life that were under pressure from human activity.

“Local communities have worked hard on this for more than a decade and it is a huge pleasure to be able to deliver on it for them,” Willow-Jean Prime said

NZ Fisheries Minister Rachel Brooking said the six marine reserves were the first step in creating a network of marine protection in the area, and build on the government’s track record of protecting the oceans.

“From tightening the rules to around fish being discarded at sea and putting cameras on commercial fishing vessels to stopping bottom trawling the vast bulk of the Hauraki Gulf, this is a Government that understands you can’t have a successful commercial fishing industry in an unhealthy ocean,” Brooking said.

As well as the six marine reserves the New Zealand government is looking at using fisheries management regulations to protect a further five areas, along with a proposed kelp protection area.