by Gareth Hughes
Last night in Auckland I spoke at the launch of a stunning new book on the importance of preserving the Kermadecs.
I have a Bill in the ballot which would do exactly that, by creating NZ’s largest marine reserve around one of our most important and pristine aquatic environments. The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Establishment Bill has already gained the support of PEW, Forest and Bird, and WWF, and has enjoyed coverage in agencies like Xinhua news, in China.
From the Bill:
The waters around the Kermadec Islands contain incredible natural diversity and include whales, fish, turtles, and seabirds. Beneath the surface is a series of undersea volcanoes and the world’s second deepest marine trench. National Geographic calls it “one of the last pristine sites in our oceans”. The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary would be New Zealand’s only reserve that protects an entire ecosystem.
Currently the territorial sea around the Kermadec Islands is a marine reserve and an Act of Parliament is required to extend it out to include the surrounding waters of the exclusive economic zone.
By protecting 620,000 square kilometres the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary would become the world’s largest no-take marine reserve, and would be a positive inspiration to other nations to implement greater marine protection measures. Enacting this sanctuary will see almost 15% of our waters protected, exceeding our 10% marine reserves target and our current level of only 0.41%.
I’m looking forward to working to get this important Bill passed when it does eventually get drawn from the ballot.