The Government is consulting on a network of Marine Protected Areas (“MPAs”) for the south eastern region of the South Island that were put forward by the South East Marine Protected Forum, a complex collaborative stakeholder led process initiated in 2014.
One of the most effective ways to protect and restore biodiversity, build resilience in our ocean and for the health of our economy and wellbeing of our people is to establish a meaningful, well-connected, and representative network of marine protected areas. If this is done in the right way, that respects the rights of tangata whenua, and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi are upheld, then all of Aotearoa New Zealand can benefit.
WWF – NZ advocates for the creation of a meaningful network of representative MPAs throughout Aotearoa subject to the rights of indigenous people and local communities. WWF – NZ’s goal is that our ocean is thriving and resilient, with at least 30% of each marine habitat within a network of highly protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (including Māori cultural practice).
The proposed network includes five marine reserves (the highest protection level), six type-2 MPAs (partial protection) and one kelp protection area. The network has not fully met the MPA Policy requirements and best practice design principles as it does not adequately protect or replicate all habitat types. Despite these limitations, if the entire proposed network is implemented, it will significantly progress marine protection in Aotearoa New Zealand. WWF-NZ acknowledges the incredible efforts that has gone in to get to this point.