This is an individual submission in support of greater marine protection in Aotearoa.
I support establishing the proposed South East Marine Protected Areas network in full, as well as additional protection for marine life in Otago.
It is particularly important that the proposed network:
- Protects sea caves and the entirety of deepwater reefs at Te Umu Koau near Palmerston.
- Bans set netting in all marine protected areas, to restore the natural marine communities including top predators and seriously threatened species, such as yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions and Hector's dolphins.
The proposed network needs to be improved by:
- Better representing dolphin, little blue penguin, and unrepresented sea tulip habitats by extending Waitaki B1 Marine Reserve and Moko-tere-atorehu C1 southwards and offshore to 12 nautical miles.
- Gaining some of the richest high current biodiversity in the entire network, by including Tow Rock in the Ōrau Marine Reserve.
- Ensuring representation of the Catlins habitats with protection either at Long Point or the Nuggets.
New Zealand has a poor record of marine protection and this proposed network already includes significant concessions to fishing. We need the fullest network possible to help marine ecosystems recover, meet our international obligations, and protect marine species from climate change impacts.