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Nick Smith

11 February, 2014

Subantarctic Marine Reserves Bill passed

The process to establish three large marine reserves in the Subantarctic Islands is almost complete with Parliament passing a bill through its third and final reading, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith said today.

“This new law, when enacted, will create 435,000 hectares of new marine reserves surrounding the Antipodes, Bounty and Campbell Islands in New Zealand’s remote Subantarctic ocean. The significance of these three new reserves is their huge size, near pristine state and remoteness. Their marine reserve status means there can be no fishing, no mining and no petroleum exploration within the protected areas,” Dr Smith says.

“The process to create these three marine reserves was led by the Subantarctic Marine Protection Planning Protection Forum, which recommended additional protection in 2010. The bill was introduced to Parliament in 2012, considered by the select committee in 2013, passed its second reading on 28 January and its third reading today.

“The bill needs to receive the Royal assent from the Governor-General. The new marine reserves will take effect at a formal ceremony on Campbell Island during a regular service visit by HMNZS Wellington on 2 March.

“I am particularly pleased to be seeing through this process for the creation of these marine reserves as it is completing unfinished business. I led the process for securing World Heritage Area status for these islands from UNESCO in the late 1990s when it was noted that the ocean area as well as the islands needed protection.

“These three marine reserves expand the proportion of New Zealand’s territorial sea that is protected from 7.1 per cent to 9.5 per cent, and helps to achieve the target of 10 per cent as part of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

“The National-led Government’s aim is to complete a record number of marine reserves this year as part of our balanced programme of economically developing some ocean areas and setting aside others for permanent protection.”