Akaroa Harbour to be made marine reserve

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 09:07 21/12/2013
Marine reserve
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
RESERVE GRANTED: Conservation minister Nick Smith in a kayak at the new marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour

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A 17-year battle to establish a marine reserve at Akaroa Harbour has been won.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith said the new marine reserve would come into effect on World Oceans Day on June 8.

The 475-hectare reserve covers the southeast corner of Akaroa Harbour and includes the area surrounding the Dan Rogers Bluff. The original application received 2334 submissions in support and 709 objections.

An application was first lodged in January 1996 and has been considered by six Conservation Ministers.

"Akaroa is an iconic harbour and hugely popular for its recreation and scenery. This new reserve will ensure better conservation of its marine life and add value to Akaroa as a tourism destination," Smith said.

He approved the application in April but it was waiting on formal sign-off by the Ministers of Transport and Primary Industries.

"This means the marine reserve can now be surveyed and formal recommendation made to the Governor- General for gazetting next year," Smith said.

He confirmed the Akaroa marine reserve was one of "a number" he wanted to advance in 2014.

"Eighty per cent of the species unique to New Zealand are in the sea, yet we have far less of our ocean protected compared to land."

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