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Paterson Inlet Meeting Report 2003

Meeting Report

Paterson Inlet Marine Reserve Application

24 September 2003

Venue: Invercargill Working Men's Club, Invercargill
Date: Wednesday 24th September 2003
Chair: Rose Grindley, Ministry of Fisheries
Duration: 1.5 hours
Attendance: 37 people including MFish and DoC staff


Rose Grindley opened the meeting by setting the rules, no questions until the speakers had finished and only constructive questions - no statements. The Ministry of Fisheries was holding this meeting to give information, their part in the consultation process to date had been information only.



A marine reserve proposal for Paterson Inlet, Steward Island , has been approved by the Minister of Conservation, subject to concurrence by the Minister of Fisheries.

To obtain relevant information and views on the marine reserve proposal that will assist the Minister of Fisheries in making his concurrence decisions the Ministry of Fisheries is holding two community meetings to provide an outline of the proposal and the submission process.


Process Timeline

Sean Cooper from the Department of Conservation (DoC) presented the history of this proposal and describing the composition of the Inlet as a hole.

  • The reserve was first mooted in 1986.
  • 1991 a committee was set up to look at the implementation of a reserve.
  • 1992 DoC held discussions on how this would be carried out.
  • 1995 DoC approved this proposal.
  • The main concern at this time was the loss of fishing by non-commercial fishermen.
  • 1997 DoC sent their proposal to the Minister of Conservation.
  • July 2002 Minister of Conservation approved the reserve.
  • The Minister of Transport has also given his approval of the reserve
  • Awaiting Minister of Fisheries concurrence


Paterson Inlet Proposal

The Proposal meets section 3 (1) of the Marine Reserves Act 1971. DoC regards the proposal meets the following criteria:

  • Schools could conduct research.
  • Tube worms mounds found in the Inlet.
  • Brachiopod communities in the proposed reserve.

A selection of pictures was shown depicting the seabed. Nothing in this was evident to state that pictures shown were of the actual proposed reserve area.

Nothing in any of these slides were unique to Paterson Inlet, Foveaux Strait or Stewart Island .


Ministry of Fisheries

Ray Voller from the Ministry of Fisheries addressed the meeting. The Minister wants feedback on the proposal and they will be advising him on whether he should be providing the concurrence sought by DoC. The Minister will look at the Ministry report and make an independent decision. The decision will be based on the assessment of the benefits and/or impacts on the area and those affected.

  • Deadline for submissions is October 28th 2003.
  • MFish to provide concurrence advice to the Minister of Fisheries by December 12 th 2003.
  • 300 people on the MFish database were sent notification of the Paterson Inlet proposal
  • Any questions can be directed to Ray on (03) 4740333


Questions & Answers

Question: How will the boundaries of the proposed reserve be marked?

Answer: DoC stated that markers on land would mark it.

Q: DoC stated that the area contained diverse habitat, what are they trying to protect?

A: The reserve was to keep the area pristine and in an undisturbed state. Paterson Inlet is undisturbed and this is why DoC wants the reserve. The isolation of the area and the relatively cold water will protect it from over exploitation.

Q: What will DoC do if the reserve becomes overpopulated with an influx of commercial charter vessel visitors who impact on the area as has happened in the marine reserves in Fiordland?

A: DoC said there are sensitive areas and it would be up to commercial operators to control impacts to protect the reserve.

Q: Why was this area chosen for a reserve with it being next door to commercial fishing, salmon/mussel farming which is like setting up a swimming area next to sewage outfall.

A: DoC said the commercial usage did not affect the area the reserve would be in.

Q: Will DoC extend the boundaries in the future if approval is given now?

A: MFish state there are no guarantees this would not be done at some time in the future. If there were to be a change the process would have to be redone.

Ministry of Fisheries advised the meeting that an application for a mataitai in Paterson Inlet had been submitted on Friday September 19th 2003. Local iwi had applied for an area outside the proposed reserve boundaries. This news came as a surprise to all non-commercial fishermen attending the meeting.

Q: Why has Iwi applied for 90% of the Inlet outside the proposed reserve boundaries and is this fait accompli?

A: MFish staff present had not seen the application.

Q: What will happen to the submissions to the proposal?

A: The Ministry of Fisheries will summarise them for the Minister.

Q: What guarantee do we have that the submissions will be actioned/listed to?

A: MFish replied that it would be worth more than their jobs to not take notice of the submissions and to do so would be also personally reprehensible.

Q: Will each submission be numbered?

A: Yes

Q: What credence will MFish put on submissions from offshore i.e. Germany ? Will MFish be doing the same as DoC did and actively solicit submissions from offshore to bolster the numbers in favour?

A: MFish advise it would depend on the submission, they had not thought of this. Submissions that gave reasons for or against would be given precedence over a submission that just said yes/no.

Q: Does MFish have an email address that can be used for sending in submissions?

A: MFish advise they had not though about electronic submissions. Electronic submissions should be sent c/o Ray Voller at his MFish address.

Q: Why has DoC persisted with the reserve when in 1992 there was strong reaction against having a reserve in Paterson Inlet?

A: DoC advises this is due to the current political arena which is favourable to marine reserves.

Q: What is unique about the proposed reserve area?

A: DoC advises it houses little bits of Paterson Inlet. It is representative of the area. The reduction in size of the original proposal has come about after previous public consultation.

Q: What weighting is put on submissions?

A: MFish advise submissions should be sent in as an individual submission with details such as:

•  Pros/cons on why the reserve approval should, or should not be granted.

•  Impact on the area.

•  Effects on non-commercial fishing.

•  Visual damage to the area - number/increase of visitors to such a small area.

•  Damage to seabed life due to increase in diving/mooring of vessels.

•  Loss of fishing for visiting hunters as one hunting block backs onto the proposed reserve and hunters would have to go onto another block to fish (this may not be a welcome move from that block holder and also safety concerns)



Although this meeting was advertised as a Ministry of Fisheries meeting staff from the Department of Conservation dominated the discussion. As is common in these types of meetings there were strong views expressed from both supporters of the marine reserve and those who did not support the application. All present were encouraged to submit their ideas to the Ministry of Fisheries by October 28th 2003.


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