In January 2016, the Ministers for Primary Industries,
Conservation, and the Environment announced plans to improve the
management of New Zealand's oceans by implementing a revised
system of marine protected areas designed to improve and build upon
management systems which already exist.
Why Is Protection Necessary?
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are used to protect the marine and
coastal environment, and as a Party to the United Nations'
Convention on Biological Diversity, New Zealand is committed to
creating a network of MPAs.
The Ministers consider that the current framework of the Marine
Reserves Act is too restrictive when it comes to meeting its
international obligations and providing adequate protection. The
Ministers propose to repeal and replace the Marine Reserves Act
with the new Act. The Marine Reserves Act does not provide for the
establishment of a reserve, unless there is an intention to conduct
Other issues include limited coordination within the process of
establishing a reserve; from undertaking consultation to
considering alternatives, from minimising costs to maximising
economic and environmental benefits, and to providing opportunities
for involvement and development to local iwi and Maori.
Under the new Act it is proposed that New Zealand will have four
different types of marine protected areas; marine reserves,
species-specific sanctuaries, seabed reserves, and recreational
fishing parks. Below is a brief summary of each proposed area.
Marine reserves (managed by the Department of Conservation) will
provide the highest level of protection whereby no fishing, or
petroleum, or minerals activity can take place within the
The intention of a species-specific sanctuary is to preserve and
protect a named species while providing for sustainable use within
that sanctuary. These sanctuaries will be managed by the Department
of Conservation, with certain activities restricted or prohibited
based on factors such as the ecology of the protected species, the
components of the particular ecosystem, and any specific protection
objectives desired by the community.
Seabed reserves will fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry
for the Environment to control activities that affect the seabed.
Although some areas of the seabed are already protected under the
Fisheries Act 1996, they are only protected from the effects of
bottom trawling and dredging (see the Fisheries (Benthic Protection
Areas) Regulations 2007). A seabed reserve will prohibit seabed
mining, bottom trawl fishing, and dredging in these areas.
Recreational Fishing Park
These parks are intended to enhance recreational fishing by
targeting commercial fishing activities. Commercial fishing of the
main recreational species will generally be prohibited in these
areas, although customary fishing will continue and parks may
provide for the commercial fishing of certain species. Marine
farming will be unaffected and some petroleum or minerals
activities may be permitted.
Recreational fishing parks will be managed by the Ministry for
Primary Industries and all fishing activities will continue to be
managed under the Fisheries Act. Two such parks have been proposed;
one in the Hauraki Gulf and the other in Marlborough Sounds.
It is anticipated that a specific compensation system will be
developed whereby compensation will be available on a case by case
basis, if it is determined that there is a significant impact on
Overall, it is intended that the reforms will provide an integrated
approach to the management of the marine area.
To achieve such integration, the Conservation, Primary
Industries, Environment, and Maori Development Ministers will
automatically be involved in every MPA proposal, with input from
other Ministers, if appropriate, to determine whether a proposal
should be advanced further.
The Government has recognised that to achieve maximum protection
of NZ's marine areas in addition to balancing commercial,
recreational and cultural interests, improved knowledge is key, as
is increasing the involvement of Maori and iwi.
As such, the new Act will provide for Maori representation
throughout all stages of the marine protection processes, ensure
arrangements are made to provide for non-commercial customary
fishing practices, and maintain those interests already recognised
under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.
Want to be Involved?
At this stage, the Government is seeking feedback on the
consultation document, which forms the basis of this article, and
can be accessed via the Ministry for the Environment's website:
Submissions on the Government's proposal can also be made
through the website, and are due by 5pm on
Friday 11 March 2016.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
An inevitable consequence of development and industrial progress is generation of waste. Therefore, efficient waste management is a matter of international concern.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).