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Skark finning to be banned in NZ

Skark finning to be banned in NZ

Government ministers gave a dramatic demonstration of their commitment to shark conservation today, by releasing three of the marine animals into the ocean, and then ensuring they swam in the right direction into open water.
“It’s like herding cats,” Conservation Minister Nick Smith said as he waded into the bay on Wellington’s south coastline.
Dr Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy were on the coast to announce details of the draft National Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks.
Banning shark finning was part of that proposal and it was welcomed by conservation groups, but the seafood industry said if the shark was already dead it made sense to harvest some of the carcass rather than throw it all back.
It is already an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to fin a shark and return it to the sea alive. However, it is lawful to catch a shark, kill it, remove its fins and dump the carcass at sea.
Dr Smith said it was that kind of waste that would be targeted under the proposal, which was out for public consultation until December.

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Research on paua and marine reserves are making waves

Research on paua and marine reserves are making waves

The impact marine reserves are having on New Zealand’s paua fishery will be clearer as a result of PhD research by Victoria University student Alix Laferriere.
Just one year into her PhD study, Alix’s research is already promising to inform sustainable management of New Zealand’s black foot paua (Haliotis iris) populations, with a focus on the role habitats play in population stability and growth.
Her study is focused on five marine reserves in the Wellington, Marlborough and Nelson regions: Kapiti Island, Taputeranga, Tonga Island, Long Island–Kokomohua and Horoirangi.
The work involves scuba diving extensively at each reserve to conduct detailed habitat assessment surveys, and counting and measuring the paua. The data gathered will allow Alix to compare how paua are faring both within and outside marine reserve boundaries.
“Previous surveys of paua and other fish species found within marine reserves have focused mainly on gathering information about the abundance and size of populations.
“However, by combining a population survey and habitat suitability analysis, I hope to identify the factors that provide optimal conditions for paua, as well as examples of particularly successful paua populations.”

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Marine protected area improves yield without disadvantaging fishers

Marine protected area improves yield without disadvantaging fishers

A new paper has been released supporting marine reserves for fisheries management.
Vince Kerr has reviewed the paper and says that this is a very reputable research group and a compelling result with a coastline and a species not unlike the NZ/snapper situation. Benefits of spill over of larvae, recruitment and biomass are clearly measured via ‘catch records’ in the surrounding fishery AND the marine reserve delivers this with no adverse effects on existing fishing activity. A significant win balanced against a nil loss to the fishers!

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Akaroa Marine Reserve approved

Akaroa Marine Reserve approved

Akaroa marine reserve approved - finally!

A new marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour has been approved by Conservation Minister Nick Smith.

“Akaroa is an iconic harbour that is hugely popular for recreation and tourism but its marine life is degraded. I have approved this new reserve around the spectacular Dan Rogers Bluff because it will enhance the area, assist scientific study and benefit the public,” Dr Smith said.

The Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society Inc. made a formal application for the marine reserve in January 1996. The formal consultation had 2334 submissions in support and 709 objections, with the principal opponents being Ngāi Tahu and recreational fishers.

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West Coast Marine Reserves approved

West Coast Marine Reserves approved

Minister of Conservation Dr Nick Smith has approved five new marine reserves on the West Coast.
Kahurangi, Punakaiki, Okarito, Tauparikaka and Hautai reserves total 17,500 hectares.
They were unanimously recommended last year by the West Coast Marine Protection Forum, which involved Ngāi Tahu, commercial and recreational fishers, conservationists, tourism operators and local councils.
“There are currently no marine reserves along the West Coast north of Fiordland,” Smith said.

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