Marine reserve on home straight
Wellington’s south coast marine reserve came a step closer recently with its formal announcement. The ‘Taputeranga Marine Reserve’ will be opened officially next month; 17 years after Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) first started campaigning for it.
“Having Taputeranga Marine Reserve on Wellington’s doorstep will be a huge bonus,” said Forest & Bird General Manager Mike Britton. “With other marine reserves, as people have seen the growth of fish numbers and other marine life inside and outside the reserve, even opponents have become supporters.”
The 840 hectare reserve is home to Little Penguin Eudyptula minor and Australasian Gannet Morus serrator along with more than 180 species of fish. The Wellington Marine BioBlitz, coordinated by Forest & Bird in October 2007, found more than 600 species inside the proposed reserve in just one month, including at least six species new to science. Common Dolphins, Fur Seals, Orcas (Killer Whales) and whales are also regular visitors to the area.
“Having Taputeranga Marine Reserve on Wellington’s doorstep will be a huge bonus” —Mike Britton, Forest & Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) General Manager
"What has buoyed the members of the Coalition the most has been the overwhelming and consistent support of the Wellington community. Along with the marine life, the community will soon begin to reap the benefits", said Colin Ryder, convener of the Coalition to help designate the reserve. “The creation of the reserve has only been made possible by the support and active involvement of many enthusiastic and committed individuals. It has been a long, complex and sometimes frustrating journey, but the end result will be well worth the effort".
The marine reserve will be open for the public to enjoy. People will be encouraged to visit Taputeranga to dive, swim, kayak and explore the beach. However, fishing or taking any marine life will not be allowed.
The official opening will kick off New Zealand’s Conservation Week on September 7, and will include a marine walk with talks and activities. The week is organised by Forest & Bird, the Department of Conservation and others.
BirdLife International is currently adapting and extending the IBA programme to the oceans. The identification of Marine IBAs will make a vital contribution to global initiatives to gain greater protection and sustainable management of the oceans, including valuable input to the identification of Marine Protected Areas.
Credits: Forest & Bird