Marine Reserve proposal for Great Barrier Island
[ supporter ]
of Conservation (DoC) have proposed the largest ever marine reserve
in New Zealand's coastal waters (53,000 hectares) for the north-east
coast of Great Barrier Island.
The Submission deadline was 30th June is now 31 July. DoC have
consistently refused to conduct public meetings in Auckland on this
If you are one
of the 800+ people who were told to go PDF yourselves by DoC when
you asked for a brochure to be posted to you, do not despair. At
the bottom of this Alert introduction is a powerful online submission
tool that allows you to complete the DoC form and then follow through
with a few extra questions that we feel are relevant.
marine reserve process
as established by the 1971 Marine Reserve Act.
The first move is a proposal. A period of public consultation follows
and then DoC will decide whether or not to proceed with a formal
application, having taken account of the comments received to the
original proposal. The formal application will be made to the Director
General DoC. He/she will then make a public notification. We, the
public, then have two months to object. Director General has one
month to reply and then all is referred to the Minister of Conservation.
If the Minister is satisfied that the application meets the criteria
in the Act he seeks concurrence decisions from the Ministers of
Fisheries and Transport. If all three are agreed the marine reserve
is declared. The Auckland Conservator has made it clear that this
reserve application will be made under the old 1971 Act. How that
can occur when a new Marine Reserve Act is imminent is not clear.
The marine reserve
that is subject to a formal application may be very different in
size, extent, boundary definition etc than the one outlined in the
original proposal. For example, the North Taranaki marine reserve
application was for an area that was completely different to the
boundary options proposed in the original proposal. Likewise, the
stalled Wellington South Coast application and the successful Te
Tapuwae O Rongokako application. Our experience has been that the
proponents use the first consultation process to determine the level
of risk to their intended outcome and then modify their proposal
to ensure the smoothest possible passage of their application.
It is for that
reason that we continue to urge the public NOT to cherry pick locations
within the boundaries of the proposed 53,000 hectares that you are
"prepared to concede".
If there is
merit in declaring a Great Barrier Island marine reserve in the
context of the current Marine Reserves Act then the current proposal
should be evaluated on the merit claimed for it. DoC must be prepared
to back itself and provide evidence and analysis of the multitude
of benefits that it has claimed to date.
Public Consultation Process
DoC have refused to hold public meetings in Auckland. Their focus
has been on the Great Barrier Island community. They have told us
that the reserve has "strong support from Great Barrier Islanders,
and that they would have the biggest say in whether it went ahead".
The Department is not telling the truth about community support
for the proposal. We were there at three meetings on the Barrier
to witness a mere 16 people out of 220 attendees (less than 10%)
voice their support for DoC's proposal.
and Marine Reserves
option4 are not against marine reserves in principle. We are, however,
adamant that a coordinated approach to their establishment and meaningful
public consultation surround any proposal that is contemplated.
Neither option4 or NZRFC or NZBGFC have been consulted prior to
the launch of any of the current marine reserve proposals in circulation
- this is unfortunate, as many of the really silly aspects of the
proposals could well have been addressed constructively and cooperatively,
rather than competitively, under time pressure. Sound scientific
evidence should be the minimum requirement for any proposal put
forward. For example - if for some reason you were sympathetic to
a marine reserve you might be inclined to support a modified reserve
boundary ... but how inclined to do that would you really be if
you later found out that there were plans in hand for other no-take
areas in reasonably close proximity? Certainly, the Auckland Conservancy
have identified the south east coast of Barrier as an area warranting
protection - exactly the same weighting and emphasis as they gave
the northeast coast.
We contend that
you cannot make a decision on the Great Barrier proposal until you
have certainty about the full extent of the Auckland Conservancy's
ambition for no-take areas.
we are paying attention to the work of Dr Floor Anthoni. He has
assembled a remarkable body of work based on observation of our
marine environment over many years. The effects of water quality
degradation cannot be underestimated. Whilst it would appear that
the mainstream scientific community are all too willing to dismiss
his analysis, we have found much of what he has to say enlightening,
although quite disturbing.
is sad that scientists and DoC remain uninformed about the seriousness
of the situation, even though it is there for all to see.
Why have no surveys been done since 1990? Obviously, a marine reserve
will not 'revert this environment to what it once was', as repeatedly
claimed by DoC and others."
the time to visit the website www.seafriends.org.nz - try reading
the FAQ section as a starter http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/cons/faq.htm
The Great Barrier marine reserve debate is not just about 53,000
hectares, or poor consultation and notice. It is about inconsistencies
in policy and principle, misrepresentation, selective reporting,
exclusion from proper process, blind adherence to protectionist
ideology, and institutional contempt for legitimate alternative
This includes the Proposal Document in both its original form and
rebutted, as well as meeting reports and links to other Marine Reserve
Make your Submission, please go here
you have friends who can not get online then there is a PDF of the
submission form available at www.option4.co.nz/alerts/questionaire.pdf
and a copy of the map of the proposed reserve area at www.option4.co.nz/alerts/map.pdf
If you have
received this Alert, thanks to the efforts of others, please consider
subscribing to the regular option4.co.nz Updates and Alerts on other
fishing related matters. Your rights to go fishing for food cannot
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