The Deepwater Group is backing the three new Marine Reserves around the Sub-Antarctic island groups of Campbell, Bounty and Antipodies.
Deepwater Group represents the fishing fleets which operate in the Southern Ocean. These islands are listed as world heritage sites and were designated nature reserves in 1954.
Deepwater CEO, George Clement, says these Marine Reserves, in which there will be no fishing or mining, were already closed to trawling. In the Sub-Antarctic region a total area of 235,220 square kilometers was closed to bottom trawling in 2007, including the areas now within the new Marine Reserves.
“We support the reclassification of waters within the 12 mile Territorial Seas of these islands as higher level Marine Reserves. We have recognised for some time that the unique flora and fauna on and round those islands need further legislative protection. The seabed ecosystems are also unique and are, for the most part, untouched. We congratulate the Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith, for implementing these additional conservation measures,” George Clement says.
“Quota owners look forward to working with Nick Smith and his officials on the development and implementation of a considered and comprehensive network of marine protected areas. We note the Ministry for the Environment’s report that New Zealand has already 34 per cent of its waters closed through existing and targeted marine management tools and that any future marine protected area policy must first take account of these existing closures.
George Clement also qualified the support given to the new Marine Reserves, requesting access for ships that need to take shelter near to these islands in the event of severe storms.
“The Minister will know of the need to shelter from his own experience in the storm last week. He was on board HMNZS Wellington when it was forced to shelter from a storm at Stewart Island. Weather that violent can be life threatening. When human life is at risk, vessels should have the right to take shelter as these Islands offer the only safety for hundreds of kilometers in a wild an open ocean.”
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