NZ Herald opinion piece: Marine protection proposals need more work
By Raewyn Peart
The Government's proposals for revamping our marine protection legislation are long overdue. It is now 45 years since the Marine Reserves Act 1971 came into force. That legislation was world leading for its time. But we now know a lot more about the vast variety of life in the sea, its importance to us and our growing impacts on it.
What is the government proposing?
There will be an expanded range of tools for marine protection, including seabed reserves and species-specific sanctuaries in addition to no-take marine reserves. There will be provision for inclusive collaborative processes and independent boards of inquiry to consider proposals. This is all positive.
A key flaw in the proposals, and it is a critical one, is the failure to extend the new marine protection tools out into the EEZ (12 to 200 nautical miles offshore). Surely if we are prepared to contemplate oil, gas and mining within the EEZ we need the ability to balance this activity with marine protection. If enough people speak out, this issue should gain the attention of the Government's support parties and can be fixed.
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