SMITH APPROVES NELSON NORTH MARINE RESERVE

  • Nick Smith
Conservation

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today announced his approval of the 948 ha Marine Reserve between Cable Bay and the Glen, north of Nelson, as proposed by the Nelson Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, with small changes to the southern and northern boundaries in response to submissions.

"I have carefully considered the 82 objections and 418 submissions in support, and determined that the proposed reserve does meet the requirements of the Marine Reserves Act and should be gazetted. I have now formally written to the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport seeking their concurrence, which is the next step to legally establish the reserve."

The application for the reserve between Glenduan (13 km north of Nelson City) and Ataata Point was lodged earlier this year. It is the 17th reserve to receive approval under the 1974 Marine Reserves Act and the 14th by National since 1990.

"I have made small changes to the boundary in the north to ensure that the northern boundary matches the southern boundary of the Taiapure which has been applied for by Ngati Tama. The change in the southern boundary will allow small boats to be launched and retrieved at the Glen without having to pass through the marine reserve. The changes do not substantially change the conservation benefits of the reserve. All objectors will receive a letter explaining the detail of the decision and the reasons for it."

"The establishment of a marine reserve is a highly contentious process. Everybody thinks they are a good idea but nobody wants them anywhere near where they might want to fish. The reserve will still leave 98% of Tasman Bay open to recreational fishing. We need to set aside areas for permanent protection and for future generations."

Mr Smith said the reserve would be gazetted after the formal process of concurrence was completed. This would be followed by an information campaign to ensure people know where the reserve is.

"This reserve is the culmination of years of consultation and discussion. I hope we can conclude the final processes in time for the new millennium. I can think of no better way to start a new century than by setting aside a significant part of our coast and waters for conservation."