New Akaroa Marine Reserve passes final hurdle

  • Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced that the new marine reserve at Akaroa Harbour will come into effect on World Oceans Day on 8 June next year.

“Akaroa is an iconic harbour and hugely popular for its recreation and scenery. This new reserve will ensure better conservation of its marine life and add value to Akaroa as a tourism destination,” Dr Smith says.

The 475-hectare reserve covers the south east corner of Akaroa Harbour and includes the area surrounding the spectacular Dan Rogers Bluff. The original application received 2334 submissions in support and 709 objections.

“The application was first lodged in January 1996 and has been considered by six consecutive Conservation Ministers. I announced my approval in April this year. I’m pleased to announce that the Ministers of Transport and Primary Industries have now given their formal concurrence to my decision, as required under the Marine Reserves Act,” Dr Smith says.

“This means the marine reserve can now be surveyed and formal recommendation made to the Governor-General for gazetting next year. My intention is to open the new marine reserve on World Oceans Day on Sunday 8 June next year.

“Akaroa is just one of a number of marine reserves I want to advance next year. 80 per cent of the species unique to New Zealand are in the sea, yet we have far less of our ocean protected compared to land. The Akaroa Marine Reserve is significant in that it recognises that the marine environment is the new frontier for conservation.”