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.
“I have carefully considered the passionate and strongly felt arguments put by both supporters and opponents of this reserve. I have not upheld the objections but have decided to adjust the northern boundary by 55ha, reducing the reserve to 475ha, to take account of concerns from customary and recreational fishers.
“It is my usual preference to secure some degree of consensus about the desirability of having new areas of marine protection, as was the case with my announcement last month of five new marine reserves on the West Coast of the South Island. This has not been possible with the Akaroa proposal despite the best endeavours of six Ministers over nearly two decades. I concluded, with the support of both the applicant and principal objectors last month, that consensus in this case was not possible and that I needed to proceed to make a decision.
Incredible it has taken almost 20 years!