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Media Statement - Paterson Inlet July 2002

Conservation Minister's decision on proposed marine reserve

July 2002


From the following DoC website link https://www.doc.govt.nz/Whats-New/presult.asp?prID=815


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has announced her approval of a proposed marine reserve in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island.

Ms Lee said the proposed reserve would now be referred to the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport for their concurrence before it could be gazetted.

The proposed reserve covers 1140 hectares of Paterson Inlet either side of the Ulva Island wildlife sanctuary.

"This is an important marine conservation initiative as Paterson Inlet has outstanding marine biodiversity. The native forests and wetlands of the Inlet's catchment, which are largely protected in the Rakiura National Park , ensure the Inlet has exceptionally high water quality. Its marine life is of high scientific interest as it is essentially unaffected by sedimentation, nutrient run-off or pollution."

Ms Lee said a special feature of the proposed reserve was the presence of an abundance of primitive shellfish, known as brachiopods.

"Paterson Inlet is one of the few places in the world where brachiopods are a dominant lifeform at diveable depths."

Ms Lee said she had been impressed by the cooperation between Stewart Island residents, iwi and conservation groups who worked together with the Department of Conservation in the development of the proposal.

"The boundaries have been set with the intention of maintaining the scientific integrity of the marine reserve while accommodating community concerns about access for recreational and customary fishing."

Commercial fishing has been prohibited in Paterson Inlet since 1994 and is therefore not affected by the reserve proposal.

Ms Lee said she was grateful for the patience of all involved with the development of the reserve as the application was first publicly notified in 1994 by the Department of Conservation.

"There has been ongoing consultation with a range of interest groups to refine the reserve proposal and deal with key concerns."

Ms Lee said she had inspected the reserve site and had recently met with iwi representatives to hear their views on the proposal.

"I have been able to reassure them that fishers will not be committing an offence if they catch fish outside the marine reserve and then have to travel through the reserve with their catch."

"I have also advised them that the Department of Conservation will assist the local runanga with the preparation of a mataitai proposal for Paterson Inlet for submission to the Minister of Fisheries. There is potential for a mataitai to complement the marine reserve and provide benefits to everyone concerned for the health and productivity of Paterson Inlet's marine communities."

Media contacts:

Kevin Smith, Senior Conservation Adviser, 04 471 9143 or 025 291 8099
Andy Cox or Tom O'Connor, Department of Conservation, 03 214 7554


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