5 December, 2012
New Bill will create three marine reserves
Three marine reserves will be created under the Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Bill, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says.
The Bill had its first reading in Parliament today and will establish a marine reserve covering the entire 12 nautical miles of territorial sea around Antipodes Island.
Two more marine reserves around the Bounty Islands and Campbell Island / Motu Ihupuku, covering 58 per cent and 39 per cent of those islands’ territorial seas will also be formed making a total of 435,163 hectares to be protected.
Combined with the existing marine reserve around the Auckland Islands, nearly a million hectares of New Zealand’s subantarctic territorial sea will be fully protected in no-take marine reserves.
“These islands boast World Heritage status in recognition of their international conservation importance and amazing wildlife. This Bill will ensure that the protection these islands enjoy is extended out to the sea,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“Some of the most biologically-diverse marine communities in the world are found here and recent research shows that their diversity compares with locations such as the Galapagos Islands.
“The subantarctic islands are renowned globally and are a huge attraction for the burgeoning eco-tourism industry. Protecting the surrounding waters is sure to add to the prestige of this remote area.”
The Bill has been referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. A copy is available here: Subantartic Islands Marine Reserves Bill