Government's Proposal to Turn 30 per cent of New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone into a Marine Protected Environment

"The Government is considering a proposal to turn at least 30 per cent of New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone into a Marine Protected Environment, excluding all fishing. But Prime Minister John Key is downplaying a potential vote, hinting New Zealand was like to abstain. A delegation of Department of Conservation officials have authority to case the Government's vote on a number of motions at a global conservation conference in Hawaii, but the Government is refusing to reveal its stance until the votes have been cast..

In a letter to DOC, Seafood NZ, Deepwater Group, Fisheries Inshore and Te Ohu Kaimoana have implored the Government not to support either motion.

"We urge the New Zealand Government to be wary of such universal solutions and arbitrary targets, especially when these aspirational goals are backed neither by science nor by sound policy."

Seafood NZ chair and Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement said Industry fished less than 1.5 per cent of the zone a year, "so 98 per cent is untouched".

"More than 90 per cent has never been touched, so there's a lot of zone that is pristine," he said."

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