South-East Marine Protection Forum
The Forum was appointed by the Ministers of Conservation and Primary Industries. The Forum’s job is to recommend to the government what sites are deserving of marine protection and what type of marine protection the sites need. There are no predetermined sites for marine protection. The Forum will first consult widely with local communities and interest groups about marine protection. They will also consider any available scientific information. Then, on the basis of that first stage of information gathering, the Forum will decide on draft marine protected areas, and will notify these recommendations for formal submissions. On the basis of all the information gathered through this process, the Forum will then make a final set of recommendations to the government, on what sites should be protected and what type of protection each site needs.
It is a three stage process.
1. Initial consultation and information gathering
2. Draft recommendations notified and formal submissions considered.
3. Recommendations finalised and provided to government.
Dissatisfaction with reserve proposals (9 March 2018) Otago Daily Times
The South-East Marine Protection Forum has left many dissatisfied with its final report, meaning two new Government ministers have a tricky task ahead.
Two options to protect ocean off the east and south coasts of the South Island will be considered by Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.
The forum is an independent body established by the previous government in 2014. It includes representatives of Ngai Tahu as mana whenua, commercial and recreational fishers, tourism, science, the environmental sector, and the broader community.
The report provides two alternative networks of marine protected areas off the coast, from Timaru in South Canterbury to Waipapa Point in Southland. And there the problem starts.
There have been tensions between the different sectors which have led to many heated, but constructive, debates. The two networks mirror the significant differences between the various groups and sectors.
Network one covers 1267sq km and includes six marine reserves, five type-two marine protection areas and 27 habitats. It is supported by the tourism, science, environmental, community representatives, as well as one of the two recreational fishing representatives. Network one prohibits the commercial harvesting of bladder kelp north of the Otago Peninsula.
Network two covers 366sq km and includes three marine reserves. It is supported by the commercial fishing representatives and the other recreational fishing representatives.
The Science Media Centre (NZ) has sent out comments from three representatives, including two from the University of Otago and one from Massey University. They say the South Island of New Zealand is sadly lacking in marine protected areas and unfortunately neither of the two recommendations will do much to address this.
Pocket-handkerchief sized fragments of isolated protection will barely assist the wide-ranging and iconic native sea birds such as the yellow-eyed penguin, whose population along the Otago coast continues to decline due to multiple factors.
Scientists overwhelmingly asked for larger protected areas and buffer zones adjacent to, or around, no-take marine reserves. They also want better protection for mobile species, including marine mammals, yellow-eyed penguins and other seabirds.
While Mr Nash has already shown himself to be pragmatic about the fishing industry, Ms Sage will be hard to move from a Green view of the marine environment. The decision on what to include and exclude in any marine reserve will be reached with difficulty, if at all.
Commercial fisheries may lose between $1.2million and $3.65million because of lost access, they say.
However, there have been claims of over-fishing in New Zealand waters for a long time and the release of the forum report gives a chance to pause and reflect on how Kiwis wish to see their country represented.
Submissions on the forum have long closed but any recommendations made in the report accepted by the Government will need further consultation and public input before implementation.
Scientists say the two proposals are based largely on social compromise rather than science. Given the forum was dominated by extractive uses of the marine environment, the result was predictable. The problem is well recognised, with similar expert criticism of the water forum as well. This kind of stakeholder group tends to result in the lowest common denominator and the environment missing out.
The fisheries industry is so unhappy with the report it has asked for a review of the process.
Otago and Southland people need to be involved in the protection of their own coastlines and must now play their part in ensuring nothing is lost in any compromise agreed to by the ministers.
2800 Submissions Received on Marine Protection Proposals - February 2017
Thanks to each and every one of you who provided a submission. We have received a total of approximately 2800 submissions. Forum Chair, Maree Baker- Galloway says she was very pleased at the number of responses, and wasn’t surprised at the high level of engagement which the consultation process has generated given the importance of the topic.
“The south-east coast is integral to so many people’s lives on a day to day basis, and for others supports important values they want to see protected. I’m encouraged that so many members of the public have been motivated to have their say.”
We did receive some late submissions which have been approved by the Forum as they were deemed to not be holding up the submission’s analyst process in any way. No further late submissions will be accepted.
The Forum are currently working through the submissions received. Also an independent analyst has been engaged to provide a summary of submissions which will be given to the Forum. The feedback and information provided in the submissions will be considered in the Forum’s next round of deliberations and will be influential in shaping the Forum’s final recommendations to government.
Any recommendations that the government accept will then be required to go through the relevant statutory process before implementation, such as under the Fisheries Act and Marine Reserves Act for example, or through the creation of special legislation."