Public Release of SEMPF Recommendations

The South-East Marine Protection Forum provided its final report on marine protection on the South Island’s south-east coast to the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries, for their release. Forum Chair, Maree Baker Galloway, says the Forum process over the last 3 years has been a challenging one which required members to not only represent their stakeholder groups well, but to also to endeavour to reach consensus as a group on very testing issues.

“There’s been tension between different sectors and the process has involved many heated but constructive debates. Eventually the Forum members reached agreement on what recommendations would be presented to the Ministers and collectively deserve to take pride in their achievement.”

Ministers have released the report today which recommends two alternative networks of Marine Protected Areas for the Ministers’ consideration.

The Forum’s recommendations draw from the wide-ranging community views which were voiced clearly through the formal submissions process as well as many face to face meetings with interested and affected people. The two networks mirror the significant differences in views between various groups and sectors.

Network 1 covers 14.2% (1267 km2) of the Forum region and includes six Marine Reserves (no-take/no-disturbance areas) and five Type 2 MPAs (where restrictions are placed on certain types of fishing). Network 1 also prohibits the commercial harvesting of bladder kelp north of the Otago Peninsula. Network 1 is supported by the environment, tourism, community and science representatives, as well as one of the two recreational fishing representatives.

An additional Marine Reserve, at Long Point (Irihuka), has been recommended by the Network 1 proponents. However, because this is opposed by Te Rūnaka o Awarua, one of the 18 Papatipu Rūnaka o Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu whose authority is from the Mata-au (Clutha River) to beyond Waipapa Point, it has not been included in the network analysis.

Network 2 covers 4.1% (366 km2) of the Forum region and includes three Marine Reserves and two Type 2 MPAs. It is supported by the commercial fishing representatives and the other recreational fishing representative.

Several sites are in both networks, but the proposed boundaries and levels of protection differ. Network 1 includes some proposals that are larger than those consulted on publicly.

Some of the sites that were consulted on are not included in either network.

Kāi Tahu do not oppose the proposed MPAs in either network (with the exception of Long Point (Irihuka)), but the rūnaka acknowledge that there will be impacts on customary values, access and aspirations of Kāi Tahu Whānau.

Forum members unanimously endorse both a 25-year generational review for all of the MPAs in any network and a management structure for MPAs which allows for co‑management by Kāi Tahu and the Crown, as Treaty partners. Support for both networks is conditional upon these management recommendations being implemented.

Any recommendations made in the report that are accepted by the Government will be required to go through the appropriate statutory processes and associated opportunities for further consultation and public input before implementation.

Forum Chair, Maree Baker-Galloway says there has been enormous public interest in this process and she looks forward to the Government’s consideration of the recommendations.

“This is such an important issue to so many people. The Forum and the staff that supported them should be proud of their efforts, and the outcome. I will be watching with interest to see how the efforts of the public, Forum and project team are utilised by the Government.”

The report can be viewed on the Forum’s website

The Executive Summary contains all the key recommendations.

Copies will also be available for viewing at local council offices and main public libraries throughout the region.