Each day during the month of April, the Institute will feature one of the 30 ‘perspectives’ from the One Ocean report. These short articles include a diverse range of views regarding oceans management in New Zealand. Enjoy!


Captain Paul Keating, Chair, Guardians of the Sounds

UNESCO World Heritage sites, biosphere reserves and MPAs

At the recent World Parks Congress in Australia in 2014, a recommendation was made to urgently increase the extent of marine protected areas (MPAs) with no extractive activities to at least 30 percent of each marine habitat. This is an increase on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s target set in 2010 for just 10 percent of marine areas to be conserved in MPAs by 2020, of which New Zealand is also currently falling well short. Marine reserves, which are MPAs with no extractive activities, currently constitute 0.4 percent of the EEZ and New Zealand’s territorial sea.

Recent pronouncements by the New Zealand Government of a possible recreational fishing park for the Marlborough Sounds will do little, if anything, to help reach these essential targets. With 20 percent of the New Zealand coastline at our door, Guardians of the Sounds (GOS) believe New Zealand should make greater use of the international legislation that we have already signed up to.

To this end, as well as seeking a significant increase of marine reserves in the Sounds, GOS is championing and actively seeking funds for the region to be nominated as New Zealand’s first UNESCO biosphere reserve (New Zealand remains one of the few developed nations that still has none). This nominated area would include two World Heritage sites: the first would be at Ship Cove, where Captain Cook spent 171 days from 1770–1779, signifying the start of New Zealand culture through sustained interaction between Māori and European; the second would be at Wairau Bar, where the oldest Māori artefacts are found and Māori culture within New Zealand began.

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