Forest & Bird urges submissions on Marine Protected Area discussion document

The clock is ticking down for those wanting to provide for protection in all of our oceans under the new Marine Protected Areas Act discussion document.

Forest & Bird marine advocate Anton van Helden said only 7 weeks remain to make submissions  to the Government. All New Zealanders need to have a say at what happens in our deep oceans and so it is vital that the EEZ be included in the new MPA Act. 

“We’ve put together an online submission form for people to use, either as a basis for their own handwritten submission, or to use in its entirety.

“This is the most important piece of marine legislation that will hit us in our lifetimes, and the repercussions of this document are immense. While the MPA Act as currently written goes some way towards protecting our coastline and ocean within 12 nautical miles, it fails to provide any mechanisms to protect our oceans outside territorial seas into the EEZ.

That means this area is vulnerable. The animals and marine life that exist in this deep sea environment are vulnerable. Many unique and valuable environments exist in our deep waters and Whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins and other species move in and out of our territorial waters and they don’t recognise the 12 nautical mile limit.”

Anton van Helden urges all New Zealanders to take the time to make a submission to create robust legislation that will enable protect ion for our oceans and marine life for future generations.
"Forest and Bird wants to see legislation that provides a robust process to create a meaningful network of Marine Reserves (no-take/ fully protected areas) and MPAs that protect representative examples of the full range of marine communities and ecosystems, and outstanding, rare, distinctive or important marine habitats and species.

The new legislation must include provision for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas beyond 12 nautical miles," said Mr van Helden,

More information:

A range of public engagement events on proposed reforms have been planned. More information about these can be found the Ministry for the Environment's website.  

Our suggested submission:

To the Ministers responsible for the Marine Protected Area discussion document,

  1. I support the need to reform the Marine Reserves Act 1971, but the primary purpose of the Marine Protected Areas Act must be to protect biodiversity within the whole of New Zealand's marine environment.
  2. I support legislation that can deliver a meaningful network of representative Marine Reserves (fully protected areas) and other Marine Protected Areas. These areas must contain representative examples of the full range of marine communities and ecosystems, and also outstanding, rare, distinctive or important marine habitats.
  3. Therefore, it is important to me that the Government apply this legislation to the whole of New Zealand's marine environment including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Extended Continental Shelf, and not restrict it to only the Territorial Sea.
  4. While I support the creation of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, the proposed legislation must also include a formal mechanism for creating other Marine Protected Areas in the EEZ.
  5. Areas for consideration for long term protection of the marine environment should not be constrained by short term resource use such as oil, gas and mineral extraction. We need robust legislation that delivers protection within New Zealand's whole Marine Environment, and certainty for its users.
  6.  Marine Protected Areas must have the purpose of protecting biodiversity, and so I support the inclusion of Marine Reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, and Seabed Reserves as tools in this legislation. However, they must be available throughout the whole of New Zealand's marine environment, not restricted to the Territorial Sea.
  7. I do not support including Recreational Fishing Parks in this legislation. Recreational Fishing Parks do not protect or enhance biodiversity. This fisheries management tool is already available in the Fisheries Act and should remain there along with similar tools. 8. I support the inclusion of a strong treaty clause in the Act.