New Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill Welcomed
New Zealand’s Minister for the Environment, Hon Dr Nick Smith, made the announcement today to progress legislation for the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, about 1000km north east of New Zealand, as a no-take marine reserve surrounding the Kermadec Islands out to 200 nautical miles.
WWF-New Zealand’s Senior Campaigner Alex Smith welcomed the news saying: “we congratulate the government for taking decisive action to protect this incredibly special area and leave it untouched for future generations”.
WWF-New Zealand campaigned for more than eight years alongside the Pew Charitable Trusts and Forest & Bird for the creation of this sanctuary.
“This Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill is a major conservation victory and is testament to many years of hard work by thousands of New Zealanders,” said Alex Smith.
“This Bill will create a safe haven in the Pacific for some of the ocean’s most exploited and threatened species in one of the most geologically diverse marine habitats in the world.”
The 620,000 square km Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will contain the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench with a depth of 10 km. The area is home to a significant number of threatened and endangered animals including whales, sharks, turtles and large ocean fish such as tuna, sunfish and marlin.
“Less than 1% of New Zealand’s oceans are fully protected and our oceans are globally significant for the marine life they contain, so looking after our marine environment is a really big deal for New Zealand and the world,” said Alex Smith.
For more information about WWF-New Zealand’s campaigns to protect our oceans, visit here.