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ORNZ Media Release

ORNZ challenges DOC's alleged science

Outdoor Recreation NZ

6 October 2004

The chairman of Outdoor Recreation New Zealand, Paul Check, today challenged an assertion by a senior Department of Conservation official that "they [marine reserves] are worth the wait".
Mr Check said today that Marine Manager Felicity Wong's assertions that monitoring of 12 out of 18 marine reserves around the country has shown significant improvements in marine environmental values are worthless in the absence of published and verifiable scientific data.
"The anecdotal evidence from the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who enjoy our marine environment has more credibility."
ORNZ, which is affiliated to United Future, says credibility of scientific data is the real issue.
"While ORNZ is not totally opposed to marine reserves,  there are major concerns over the fast tracking of a large number of coastal marine reserves – largely to the detriment of the recreational fisher - based entirely on what we consider to be unsubstantiated scientific evidence.
"There is no argument that it is extremely important that we preserve the marine environment for future generations, but we also need to get it right.
"Should we be concerned that the marine biologists and scientists collating this data -in a blatant conflict of interest - are the very same academics pushing for no-take marine reserves? Outdoor Recreation NZ certainly is."

Mr Check said "The over-exploitation - on the basis of  misleading data - of the now precarious orange roughy fishery is still fresh in the minds of many.
"Could the real agenda - fuelled by the determination of DOC's environmental zealots to return New Zealand's environs to a primordial state - be in fact to perpetuate what is already occurring on the DOC-controlled land-based estate – that is to say, removal of all human involvement from the ecological equation?
 "If this is the case, given DOC's track record to date, we have much to fear," Mr Check said.
Contact: Paul Check
Chairman, ORNZ
Cell: 0274 731 686

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