The South-East Marine Protection Forum is releasing a public consultation document and is calling for submissions on initial proposals of 20 sites for possible inclusion in a network of marine protected areas along the South-East Coast of the South Island from Timaru to Waipapa Point. The official launch date and start of the submission period is Tuesday 25 October.
Forum Chair, Maree Baker -Galloway, says she’s appreciative of the public input that the Forum has already received which has helped shape the consultation document.
“We would not have reached this point if it hadn’t been for those in the community taking the time to tell us what they think. So I thank everyone for their contributions. We are launching this consultation document confident that this spirit of community engagement will continue, and that the public submissions we receive will further shape the final recommendations that the Forum will present to government in order to best protect the biodiversity of our south-east coast.”
The Forum’s work is part of New Zealand’s international commitment to protecting biodiversity in order to help safeguard the long term viability of habitats and ecosystems. Since it was established in 2014 by the Minister of Conservation and the Minister for Primary Industries, the Forum has been working towards meeting the Government objective of providing protection for each marine habitat type in the south-east region.
Using a habitat classification system, 34 habitat types were mapped based on the habitat classification, and three biogenic habitats (kelp forest, bryozoan bed and seagrass).
The MPA Policy, which has informed the Forum’s work, requires a network which will protect representative examples of the full range of marine habitats and ecosystems in the region and also outstanding, rare, distinctive or internationally or nationally important marine habitats and ecosystems.
One example of each habitat type is to be fully protected in a marine reserve, as well as replicated in another MPA.
The MPA Policy is underpinned by a commitment to minimise the adverse impacts of marine protection on existing users of the marine environment and on Treaty settlement obligations.
Maree Baker-Galloway says, “In our deliberations to date we have had to make some difficult choices about options for biodiversity protection. In particular, the Forum has had to carefully consider the impacts of potential marine protected areas on manawhenua and existing users.
“Using the information we have gathered from the community, from scientists, and from literature, along with our own knowledge and experience, Forum members have now developed 20 potential sites for protection from Timaru to Waipapa Point, in respect of which we must now formally consult, to get further information. Within some of the proposed sites we have also created options to be consulted on as alternatives.”
The proposed marine protected areas for consultation are:
- A Tuhawaiki to Pareora (Type 2)
- B Waitaki Coastal (Type 1)
- C Waitaki Offshore (Type 2)
- D Pleasant River to Stony Creek (Type 1)
- E Bryozoan Bed (Type 2) – option 1
- F Saunders Canyon (Type 1) – option 1
- G Bryozoan Bed (Type 2) – option 2
- H Papanui Canyon (Type 1) – option 2
- I Harakeke Point to White Island (Type 1)
- J White Island to Waldronville (Type 2)
- K Green Island (Type 1)
- L Akatore Estuary (Type 2)
- M Akatore Coastal (Type 1)
- N Akatore Offshore (Type 2) 124
- O Long Point (Type 1)
- P Long Point Offshore (Type 2)
- Q Tahakopa Estuary (Type 1)
- R Tautuku Estuary (Type 2)
- S Haldane (Type 2)
- T Kelp Forest (Type other)
Each proposed site is either labelled Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 sites are being consulted on as marine reserves or ‘no take’ areas. Type 2 sites are proposed as marine protected areas with restrictions specific to what is being targeted for protection; ‘a fit-for-purpose’ set of restrictions. Type 2 marine protected areas still allow some fishing and harvesting, but restrict specific fishing methods and other activities (e.g. mining) in the interests of biodiversity protection, particularly those that cause sea bed disturbance.
The Public Consultation Document and Submission Form is available online www.south-eastmarine.org.nz, or the public can call 0800 Our Sea (0800 687 729) to request a copy. Copies will also be available for viewing at local council offices and public libraries throughout the region.
In November the Forum plans to host a series of Public Information Sessions throughout the region where people can come and find out more about the submission process.
Submissions close 5.00pm on Tuesday 20 December 2016
Freephone: 0800 687 729