August 04, 2016
Manta rays miss out in protection bill
While the Government is trying to shame Maori into silence over the creation of the Kermadec/ Rangitahua Ocean Sanctuary, an international conservation group says it is failing to protect the greater part of New Zealand’s marine estate.
Alex Smith from the World Wildlife Foundation says a new Colmar Brunton poll shows 76 percent of New Zealanders support the inclusion of deep ocean in marine protected areas.
But the proposed Marine Protected Areas Act only covers coastal waters out to 12 nautical miles.
That leaves out the other 95 percent in the Exclusive Economic Zone out to 200 nautical miles, which includes a lot worth protecting.
"There’s penguins, albatross, petrels, whales, dolphins, giant manta rays, there’s sea mounts, trenches and deepwater corals. We don’t think it makes sense to have this legislation, which is to provide the framework for looking after our oceans, exclude our deep seas. We need a process for setting up protection out there as well as in the coastal waters," Mr Smith says.
He says the bill was originally drafted to enable protection for areas in the deep oceans, but it appears National switched track after lobbying from oil and gas explorers.
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