|In the midst of the war for marine reserves, the Minister of Conservation announced that the Department would end its confrontational approach and make place for a national marine reserves policy and implementation strategy, conceived by consent. The documents presented and dissected here show what is really meant and how ill-conceived the idea really is. Remember that the new Marine Reserves Bill has been held up and won't be reconsidered before the next election, which means that any new marine reserves must be passed under the old Act for the purpose of marine research. This new policy, directed by Cabinet (a small group of ministers), attempts to bypass this hiatus (gap) in an undemocratic way.|
The concept is quite simple and originated in a Hauraki Gulf Marine Protection Plan (see links above and Fishermen's reactions). The idea is to marginalise the stakeholders, particularly the recreational fishermen by reducing them to a single voice in a large line-up of stacked votes, most from government departments who cannot vote otherwise. Recreational fishermen are marginalised a further 18 times because the MPA Plan is executed by as many regional bodies, spread all over the country. There is no centralised approach or a centralised policy or resolution of differences. To make matters worse, recreational fishermen are expected to meet their own costs as they have to fight on 18 fronts, whereas all others feed from the public trough. Clearly, the Plan is not about consultation.
The public has been asking for a fully integrated approach which goes much further than it will get with this Plan. In fact, this Plan does not address any of the 100 outstanding issues that need to be resolved BEFORE thinking about where to put marine reserves (see link above).
In the past few years we have seen convincing proof that not any of our existing coastal marine reserves are protecting marine biodiversity, as each is degrading from bad to worse, with no end in sight. Surely if marine conservation is about saving the sea, we must first acknowledge that marine reserves are not working, then find out why and what the sea's new threats are, and then seek the right tools to fix the problems. However, this Plan is not at all about saving the sea. It is about closing large areas in the sea in the hope that this will be beneficial. It is about keeping politicians in power.
What is good?
With much fanfare, the Minister for Conservation announced that DOC's confrontational approach would now end as an integrated strategy with participation from all stakeholders would introduce marine reserves on the basis of accepted science. The Plan organises the many government departments into a concerted effort. Local interest groups have a say. The sea will be classified scientifically into bioregions and habitats. End of good news.
What is bad?
The list of what is so bad about the MPA Plan, seems endless, and we have summarised it here for your reference.
1. The New Zealand Government is committed to protecting a full range of natural marine habitats and ecosystems to effectively conserve marine biodiversity, using a range of appropriate mechanisms, including legal protection. The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) policy is designed to achieve this objective. It is entirely top-down driven by Government policy while not taking note of serious objections, feasibility, alternatives and pilot studies. There exist serious doubts about the Marine Biodiversity Strategy and whether marine reserves are working in the face of accelerating degradation of seas and coasts. It is wishful thinking but is neither science nor good management.
2. There are three components to the work towards delivering the MPA
policy. These are:a. Policy Statement
b. Implementation Plan
c. Annual Operating Plan
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS - POLICY STATEMENT
3. This policy statement is structured in two parts. The first provides details of the Government' s commitment to marine biodiversity conservation and outlines the scope of the MPA policy. The second part of the statement provides a series of high-level operational principles, which will guide the general approach to the planning of the network and the selection of MPA sites and management tools. This section also discusses integration of the current management tools available to the Implementing agencies.
The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy
4. The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2000 (NZBS) was established to meet New Zealand's commitments as a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention recognised that biological diversity has an inherent value, as well as having ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic value. Maintaining biodiversity is also important for evolution and for the health of the earth's biosphere systems. It must be noted that the Convention was dominated by hysteria rather than good science.
5. The NZBS defines biological diversity - or biodiversity - as the variety of life considered at all levels; from genetic variation within a species to the variety of communities that live in particular habitats and the physical conditions under which they live. So far so good.
6. The NZBS establishes the strategic framework for action to conserve
and sustainably use and manage New Zealand's biodiversity. The following
is the desired outcome for Coastal & Marine Biodiversity in 2020:
New Zealand's natural marine habitats and ecosystems are maintained in a healthy functioning state. Degraded marine habitats are recovering. A full range of marine habitats and ecosystems representative of New Zealand's marine biodiversity is protected. The Convention specified explicitly sustainable use as its main objective, as part of the sustainable development strategy. Sustainable use does not mean locking up for good. By interpreting it as such, the NZBS exceeds the Convention's intentions.
No human-induced extinctions of marine species within New Zealand's marine environment have occurred. Rare or threatened marine species are adequately protected from harvesting and other human threats, enabling them to recover. The main extinction threat to marine species comes from land-based runoff. Species living in the intertidal, those living in harbours and those around remote coastal islands are most at risk. Also Maui's dolphin is threatened mostly by its degrading environment rather than from fishing.
Marine biodiversity is appreciated, and any harvesting or marine
development is done in an informed, controlled and ecologically sustainable
manner. No new undesirable introduced species are established, and threats
to indigenous biodiversity from established exotic organisms are being
reduced and controlled. But introduced species
establish themselves uncontrolledly in the worst of our marine environments,
near large human populations. There exists no mitigation as the situation
is worsening, rather than being reduced or controlled.
In principle there are no objections against these outcomes, as we all want a healthy environment. However, it must first of all be acknowledged that degraded marine habitats are not recovering and that they are not served by controlling fishing effort or by closing them off. All our present coastal marine reserves are degrading badly and this must be acknowledged first. If we talk about protection, then we must agree on what the main threats are. Degradation from land-based runoff has become the sea's foremost problem and we must act accordingly. We must be able to demonstrate that we can control this threat within all existing marine reserves before attempting anything else.
It must also be acknowledged that fishing does not threaten the vast majority of marine creatures and that exploitation and protecting biodiversity can go hand in hand, as unexploited natural populations do not exist in the sea.
The 10% Protection Target
7. The NZBS contains an action to:"Achieve a target of protecting 10 percent of New Zealand's marine environment by 2010 in view of establishing a network of protected marine areas". Please note that there exists no scientific proof that networks of failed reserves are somehow not failed networks. There have been no pilot studies anywhere in the world to ascertain that networks indeed provide measurable benefits. What activists and proponents advocate is to institute large changes and restrictions to those who use the sea, without any proof or evidence of benefits, let alone an objective value of such perceived benefits.
8. The 10% figure is a target for marine protection planning and implementation over the next 5 years. The amount of New Zealand's marine environment protected will be an important indicator of progress. However, the extent of protection required to achieve the NZ Biodiversity Strategy outcome will ultimately be determined by what is required to ensure adequate protection of marine biodiversity.
In principle, the amount of protection must fit the need, but reader be aware that the above statement leaves the door wide open for 20% then 30% to 50% protection. The word protection has always been used as a synonym for No Take Zones. Where will it end? However, the main flaw in all these arguments is that the sea is compared with the land, which is wrong in almost all cases. Proponents of marine reserves and the vast majority of bureaucratic decisionmakers are poorly informed on marine matters and too easily come to the wrong conclusions or make the wrong decisions. Read our biodiversity section to see how easily one can be misinformed about the sea www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/cons/biodiv.htm#marine
The MPA Objective
9. The primary objective for MPAs is objective 3.6 of the NZBS, which is to:Protect a full range of natural marine habitats and ecosystems to effectively conserve marine biodiversity, using a range of appropriate mechanisms, including legal protection. Note carefully how this text misleads. It talks about MPAs (any form of protection) and then restricts it to appropriate mechanisms, which is synonymous with No Take Zone or Marine Reserve. In the context of the Marine Reserves Act, which is DoC's only legal mandate, legal protection means only one thing: No Take Zone.
10. This MPA policy fulfills action 3.6(a) of the NZBS, which is to:
Action (a): Develop and implement a strategy for establishing a network of areas that protect marine biodiversity. Included in the network will be marine reserves, world heritage sites, and other coastal and marine areas such as mataitai and taiapure areas, marine area closures, areas subject to seasonal closures and areas with restrictions to certain fishing methods. Please note how the two goals are formulated in two different sentences. The first is about networks of marine reserves. The second is an attachment, and is also outside DoC's legal mandate.
It is good that many protection tools are acknowledged to achieve the right amount and kind of protection, but again, no acknowledgment of the sea's foremost threat, degradation, for which MPAs and networks of these don't help. Let's do the right thing first!11. The Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries are jointly responsible for developing and implementing this MPA policy. A number of other groups are also noted being key players for its successful development and implementation, namely Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Maori Development), [MFE is not mentioned - albeit it probably should have been] regional councils, iwi/hapu, fishing industry and non-governmental organisations.
Reader please note that the Network idea lives entirely in the scientists' minds and has not been substantiated empirically by scientific method. There have been no pilot studies conducted to establish whether the idea is real. We should therefore not be tempted to lock up large parts of the sea for ideas that have not been tested. There exists no defensible haste. What we DO know is that none of our existing coastal marine reserves protects biodiversity. So why proceed at all? Where is the overriding evidence? Where does all the haste come from? It is overly clear that the whole motivation behind this plan comes from politicians wishing to stay in power. Marine reserves are now created for political expediency. How can we justify this to our children?
Please note that the Department of Conservation and the Marine Reserves Act are entirely superfluous to achieve the desired protection, as the Fisheries Act provides for the whole gamut of protection mentioned above. Only by abolishing the MRA and DoC's presence in the sea, will we reach sensible solutions. Note also how the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) hs distanced itself fromt he sea.
Definition of MPA
12. For the purpose of this policy, an MPA is defined as:
"an area of the marine environment especially dedicated to or achieving the protection and maintenance of biological diversity at the marine community, habitat and ecosystem level".
Here is the sting. This is a complete synonym for No Take Zones or Marine Reserves, as protagonists can argue that only NTZs achieve this level of protection. Why this hidden agenda? Why not be forthright? Are we considered to be stupid? So, forget about all the talk about levels of protection and MPAs. The MPAPIP is entirely and exclusively about networks of marine reserves.
13. The scope of the policy is biodiversity protection at the habitat and ecosystem level, not individual species. (However, where measures protecting particular species have the effect of achieving biodiversity protection at the habitat and ecosystem level, they could be counted as part of the MPA network). Wrong. The IUCN specifies clearly that ANY form of protection counts towards the objective of an MPA. It specifies several levels of protection and is an internationally accepted strategy. The MPAPIP forces NZ to go its own way, at odds with international directions.
14. The policy does not directly address protection of marine historic or cultural heritage or non-extractive use (e.g. diving), tourism or recreational opportunities. Such issues will be considered in the development of the Oceans Policy. Wrong. Marine reserves work best for just these purposes. They fail to protect biodiversity.
15. Spatially, the policy covers both the territorial sea (coastline to 12 nautical miles) and the exclusive economic zone (12 to 200 nautical miles).
Reader please note that on the land, our National Parks cover all our wastelands, most of it covered in ice and bare rock. None or very few of our National Parks is economically productive. By the same standard, we should allocate the wastelands of the sea, with water too deep for fishing, to National Sea Parks.
16. Finally, the policy seeks to coordinate the implementation of existing management tools to protect marine biodiversity.
The policy lacks credibility in this respect, as its only purpose is to create more No Take Zones or Marine Reserves. The real solution for inter-departmental simplicity is to get the Department of Conservation out of marine matters. It is an unnecessary complication which creates and promotes inflexible solutions. We owe this to our children.MPA Implementation
17. The principles set out in this section will guide the implementation process.
18. The principles are organised as follows:
This set of principles is flawed since the most important things to do are: to acknowledge that marine reserves are not working and why; to investigate what the major threats are to the sea; to study the 3000km2 of cable zones and ammunition dumps; and to conduct pilot studies whether networks are working.
19. The approach to planning and implementing the strategy will be guided by the principles set out below. Each principle is followed by a brief explanation.
a. Generic Principle 1: National priorities for MPA establishment will be developed on an annual basis.The MPA policy is a national strategy designed to achieve government outcomes. National priorities, together with the policy's principles, will be used to guide and inform implementation at the regional level. An inventory of MPAs will be prepared each year to guide progress against the priorities. It is not a consultative strategy but top-down driven by Government. The foremost principle should be that we can agree on a fully integrated approach for all of our oceans which is non-partisan and not driven by political expediency.
b. Generic Principle 2: Roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined.DoC and MFish will establish clear process and responsibilities for integrated planning and establishment of MPAs consistent with the statutory requirements of the protection tools to be used as MPAs. The MPA Implementation Plan (Part II) sets out roles and responsibilities. As long as DoC keeps meddling in the sea, this leads to complicated and expensive solutions, not particularly the best solution for our children.It is also entirely focused on No Take Zones.
c. General Principle 3: A consistent approach will be used to assess
whether a biodiversity protection measure is likely to offer sufficient
protection to contribute to achieving the MPA policy objective.In order
to achieve this objective, the protection offered within the MPA needs
to be of a sufficient standard. The site and tool selection principles
set out later in this Policy Statement including the requirements to meet
The sting continues. We must in advance agree on which tools satisfy the biodiversity requirement, as also we must agree that biodiversity protection does not exclude extraction. As it stands, the wording here is meant to mislead.
d. Generic Principle 4: Property rights, as well as their scope and associated responsibilities, will be respected.MPAs are more likely to be established in a timely and efficient manner where appropriate recognition is given to the rights and responsibilities of users of the marine environment. Then why has this been neglected so often? Where is the budget for recompensation? Where is the budgets for democratic and balanced participation and consultation?
e. Generic Principle 5: The special relationship between the Crown and Maori will be provided for, including kaitiakitanga, customary use and matauranga Maori.This principle reflects the obligations that arise from the Treaty of Waitangi and the various commitments to tangata whenua that are included in marine management legislation. Whilst these rights do not constitute a veto over MPA proposals, they do mean that where MPAs are being considered for a particular area, tangata whenua should be involved at an early stage. However, in practice, Maori have but a single vote in a long list of stacked votes. Furthermore, the Marine Reserves Act does not acknowledge nor provide in this matter, while it remains the only legal mandate that DoC can swing. DoC will not be able to administer Mataitai or Taiapure protected areas. Indeed, it has never given prominence to these, or to truly locally managed NTZs. It has never in deed acknowledged Maori's special relationship with the Crown, only in lip service.
f. Generic Principle 6: MPA research will be effectively planned and
coordinated. MPA research is important for a number of reasons. These include
determining whether individual MPAs are meeting their objectives, how MPAs
should best be designed and managed, and the social and economic impacts
of MPAs. MPAs also provide invaluable comparisons or controls for research
investigating the ecological structure and function of marine communities,
with potential benefits for fisheries and environment management. The Implementation
Plan will outline requirements for the coordination of processes for contracting
and reviewing research.
Let's begin with our existing marine reserves. Are they protecting biodiversity as they are losing both quality and quantity of life? Why does it take so long before local management is realised with a local management budget? Can we trust that authorities will change their ways? Why are we waiting? Why have we been waiting for 25 years?
g. Generic Principle 7: Best available information will guide decision making. Understanding of marine habitats and ecosystem processes is limited. MPA decision-making will be informed by the best available information. Standards will be developed to outline the requirements for the use of information in MPA planning. Maori and fishermen have good reason to remain cynical about this aspect of the MPAPIP, as it has already been made so obviously clear that the whole effort will be directed towards large marine reserve, scattered around our coasts and further at sea. Why are the users of the sea not involved in this process? We are particularly worried about scientists persistently ignoring the main threat to the sea: degradation. No measurements have been made and no research has been done in this area. How can we talk about best available information when scientists still remain obtuse to the foremost threat to the sea?
h. Generic Principle 8: MPA decision making will be guided by a precautionary
approach. Management actions taken under the MPA Implementation Plan to
conserve or protect biodiversity should not be postponed because of a lack
of knowledge, especially where significant or irreversible damage to ecosystems
can occur or indigenous species are at risk of extinction. Each agency
will need to apply the precautionary approach in a manner consistent with
their statutory obligations.
Is this another sting? Is it another argument for haste and a justification of a policy of 'lock up and hope' ? Is it an invitation to let fear by the uninformed decide? The reality is that there exists no justifyable reason for haste, especially when marine reserves are not working to protect biodiversity. Where haste is needed is in combating landbased pollution of the sea, but not a word is mentioned about this main threat to the sea. We are losing our soils, killing our seas and losing our beaches as well.
i. Generic Principle 9: A monitoring and evaluation programme will be
undertaken. A monitoring and evaluation programme will be developed to
assess progress towards achieving the MPA policy objective and to assess
the effectiveness of the individual MPAs at achieving their own specific
objectives. The programme will use the generic, network and site and tool
selection principles as a basis for the monitoring framework. The monitoring
programme will provide information that will be fed into a formal strategy
review process and will also be made available to stakeholders to enable
them to participate in the planning processes.
Why is this not done for our existing marine reserves? Let's start here.We must also be prepared to abandon marine reserves that do not achieve their objectives. Where is this mentioned?
j. Generic Principle 10: MPA implementation will be undertaken in a
transparent manner that constructively engages groups with an interest
in marine biodiversity protection. Does it exclude
groups that have valid objections? Consistent with statutory obligations,
agencies will have clearly defined implementation processes and will coordinate
the implementation mechanisms and their respective consultation processes
so that stakeholders can effectively participate. This
principle compels all government agencies (regional councils, local bodies,
DoC offices, MFish offices, MfE bodies, marine transport, marine safety,
etc) and interest groups (Forest&Bird, ECO, NZUA, NZ Conservation Authorities,
etc) to act FOR implementation of marine reserves. Objection is not an
20. Development of the representative network of MPAs will be guided by the principles set out below. Each principle is followed by a brief explanation.
a. Network Principle 1: MPA network design will be based on the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem- function.The complexity and inter-connectedness of the marine environment means that the MPA network needs to be habitat and ecosystem-based. Where possible, MPA network planning should be designed to ensure the maintenance of ecosystem processes. However, marine reserves science is still hopelessly flawed and untested and the network idea has not been tested at all. The main principle should be to proceed with caution with planned feasibility studies and pilot studies. There exists no haste because other threats than fishing dominate our coastal seas.
b. Network Principle 2: MPAs should be distributed based on an agreed classification of environment types. For the purposes of MPA planning, agreement is needed on the use of classification systems, including the scale or scales at which the marine environment will be classified. Again, the planned classification system is untested. Permanent closure of a productive area must not be taken lightly. There must be a contingency for compensation. However, research establishing environment types and their boundaries is welcome.
c. Network Principle 3: The MPA network should protect the full range of natural marine habitats and ecosystems. In order to meet the biodiversity strategy objective, the MPA network should be representative of all marine environments (at the agreed scale) and should cover centres of endemism, unique or special areas and habitats of particular importance to ecosystem function. Again untested statements with good intention but there are also other (social) priorities.
d. Network Principle 4: The MPA network should be viable. The marine
environment is subject to on-going stresses both natural and human-induced.
A viable network will be more likely to withstand and recover from such
impacts, increasing the likelihood of sustainably achieving the overall
network objective. Viability will depend on matters including the nature
of the protection, the presence of replicate MPAs protecting similar habitats,
and connectivity between MPAs, as well as the nature of actual or potential
threats to a particular habitat and the amenability of those threats to
mitigation using MPA mechanisms.
There exists overwhelming evidence that coastal marine reserves are not protecting biodiversity. This means that networks of these won't help either. We must first acknowledge the massive degradation now occurring in marine reserves even those located at the edge of the continental shelf. Note that all the statements in d) above are conjecture (assumptions) without formal proof.
e. Network Principle 5: Priority will be given to establishing MPAs where the most significant biodiversity protection gains can be achieved. National priorities for MPA planning will be set and reviewed annually. The overall goal is to protect the full range of marine habitat and ecosystems. Prioritisation of actions will therefore be strongly influenced by risks and threats to the habitats and ecosystems that are under-represented in the network. No problems here, as long as the benefits can be proved to outweigh the costs to society and as long as alternative (cheaper) solutions are also considered.
Note that a very important principle is overlooked, that of most bangs for least bucks. The proposed No-Take Zones or Marine Reserves are 100/100 solutions with 100% protection for 100% cost, hindrance and annoyance. For protecting nature, 80/20 solutions with 80% compliance for 20% cost, are more effective at a much lower cost to society.Site and tool selection principles
b. S&T principle 2: The location, design and selection of tools for an MPA should be sufficient to meet the standard of protection. The appropriateness of design and location will require assessing the ability of the MPA to address human-related threats, processes and activities. These may include contamination; sedimentation; fishing; tourism or visitor-based disturbance; undersea or seafloor commercial activities or scientific/research activities so that the key biophysical aspects of the site are not significantly altered. But we must accept that not all of the sea can be saved.
An important principle overlooked here is that of the New Nature that lives with Man. When most of the sea has been altered (e.g. by fishing), then enclaves of protection behave like unnatural places, compromising their effectiveness. Many species (like sea birds and dolphins) feed from fishing discards, literally exploiting Man.
Some limited but ongoing modification or use of resources (including fishing) in some protected areas may be possible whilst maintaining the biological characteristics, key components, and processes that are a feature of the habitat or ecosystem. The protection must be adequate to provide for the maintenance or restoration of:
c. S&T principle 3: The mechanism used to establish MPAs should
be consistent and secure in the long-term, subject to any necessary changes
to allow them to better achieve objectives, taking into account natural
dynamics. Many improvements in biodiversity will not happen in the short-term.
The MPA policy represents a long-term investment in the marine environment
with the expectations that the benefits will arise over time. Therefore
it makes sense to work towards long-term protection. Nevertheless it may
be necessary to adjust the design and/or location of some MPAs in light
of changing environmental conditions, improving knowledge and changes in
the use of the marine environment.
Yes, adaptability and flexibility are important but even more important is the concept of a pilot study which may reveal that the idea won't work in the long term. It must be possible to acknowledge mistakes and to abandon failed protection measures.
d. S&T principle 4: The MPA management regime must be enforceable.Where
compliance and enforcement is inadequate, the MPA objective is unlikely
to be achieved. The level of enforcement and compliance required will be
based on the risk of non-compliance and the impact of that non-compliance
on achieving the MPA objective.
The 80/20 rule must be acknowledged where a great deal of protection can be achieved with little effort or incomplete compliance or local management.
e. S&T principle 5: Adverse impacts on existing users of the marine
environment should be minimised in establishing MPAs. Careful design of
MPAs incorporating information on use and stakeholder input should ensure
that MPAs have the least possible impact on existing users of the marine
environment without compromising biodiversity protection objectives.
Considerations of the impacts of MPAs on customary use and management practices is an essential part of creating an effective MPA network and avoiding unnecessary conflict.
Where overwhelming adverse reaction occurs, a project MUST be abandoned FOR GOOD. Otherwise stakeholders will not be supportive of any protection plan. DOC must show compliance with this statement by abandoning the Tiritiri and Great Barrier proposals forever. Failing to do so, marks it as an unworthy partner with a hidden agenda. There must be an adequate budget for compensation.
f. S&T principle 6: The primary criteria for site selection will
be meeting the policy objective and national priorities. Once satisfied,
consideration may be given to other benefits and costs associated with
site and tool selection. The establishment of an MPA network representing
the full range of marine habitats and ecosystems is the objective. In many
cases the gaps in the network will be able to be filled at a number of
different sites. Where this is the case, selection of the site will analyse
the costs and benefits of the proposed MPAs. Additional (non-biodiversity)
benefits of one site over another could include increased amenity values
through accessible educational, diving and tourism opportunities. However,
if providing for the additional benefits increases adverse effects on resource
users, in some circumstances this may require considerations of redress.
lot of stings here. Firstly, the term national priorities is undefined
and could be interpreted that DoC will get its way whatsoever. The next
sting is consideration may be given, rather than will be given.
Suddenly the word costs appears, where it was never mentioned before.
It is doubtful whether anyone will understand S&T principle 6, and
because of this it is better left out altogether.
Integration of Legislation
21. The different tools used for the protection of marine biodiversity are governed by different legislative criteria and processes and are administered by different agencies. The extent to which each agency can work towards the MPA policy objective is constrained by the legislation that it has the mandate to deliver. The principles in this policy statement are designed to provide the guidance across agencies to enable a good level of integration of legislative tools, so that the objective can be achieved in an effective and efficient way. The most effective way with the least cost is to remove DoC from the sea and to accommodate all protection measures and tools under the Fisheries Act.
22. There is considerable scope for using a combination of management tools to achieve biodiversity outcomes, including addressing the effects of land-based activities on the marine environment. Only by saving the land can we save the sea. This is where it must begin. We cannot overstress this principle.
23. Whether a management tool will offer sufficient protection to be classified as an MPA, will be determined using the protection standard (S&T principle 2). The MPA definition is unacceptably narrow.
24. The tools and their scope are outlined below:
25. Marine Reserves legislation is administered by the Department of Conservation. The Marine Reserve Bill currently before Select Committee has biodiversity as its purpose . As such Marine Reserves are expected to play a key role in MPA implementation. The sting evolves. It is really all about marine reserves that won't work, yet cost the most while requiring 100% compliance and stealing 100% from future generations. Please never forget that the Fisheries Act can also create marine reserves as No Take Zones. Several examples exist. The sting in this pragraph comes from reference , explained further on. It states that the definition of 'Marine Reserve' is meant to be not that of the operational Marine Reserves Act but of the proposed Marine Reserves Bill, now in select committee, but so badly crafted to probably never see the light of day.
26. The Bill provides that marine reserves will be established to protect community and ecosystem biodiversity. Cabinet (!) has agreed that marine reserves will be used to conserve indigenous marine biodiversity for current and future generations by preserving and protecting:
27. Members of the public can put forward proposals for marine reserves. Whether proposals come from the Department of Conservation itself or from stakeholders, there is typically a large amount of public and stakeholder involvement both prior to and after the formal application process. As long as we can get rid of ad-hoc approaches and all proposals pass through the MPAPIP 'consultancy' process.
28. Under the Bill, approval from the Minister of Conservation is required
in order to establish a Marine Reserve (following consultation with other
Ministers). The Minister of Conservation cannot approve a marine reserve
proposal if it would have an undue adverse effect on a range of interests,
including tangata whenua and customary and recreational fishing. This test
will influence issues of MPA planning, as discussed in the Implementation
Plan.Under the Bill, concurrence from the Minster
of Fisheries is no longer required, which leaves those who make a sacrifice
for others, unrepresented. How can we trust DoC after so much misleading
information and propaganda disseminated by them?
Fisheries Act Tools
29. The purpose of the Fisheries Act 1996 is to provide for utilisation of fisheries resources while ensuring sustainability. Ensuring sustainability includes avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects of fishing on the aquatic environment. Utilisation is defined as conserving, using enhancing and developing fisheries resources to enable people to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being. In addition, the Act' s environmental principles provide that:
30. Fisheries tools used to contribute to the MPA network need to be used in a manner consistent with the Fisheries Act 1996. Total fisheries closures under the Fisheries Act 1996 protect marine habitats from impacts associated with fishing. Partial fishing closures provide more targeted protection from particular fishing methods (e.g. restrictions on bottom impacting fishing methods), or apply during particular seasons. It must be acknowledged that a total fisheries closure is identical to No Take protection as in marine reserves. There is no difference.
31. In implementing measures to manage the effects of fishing on the environment, MFish takes a risk-based approach, and seeks to use to lowest cost approach capable of achieving the desired outcomes. This means that where an area is a priority for protection but is not impacted on by fishing, a marine reserve is likely to be the choice of tool to use (such as around remote islands like the Kermadecs and Auckland Islands). MFish is implementing Stock Strategies as the basis for managing fish stocks, or groups of fish stocks. This approach is discussed in the Implementation Plan.
32. In some cases voluntary agreements are used as an alternative to
a regulated closure. In considering if such an agreement could also contribute
towards the MPA network, the extent to which all fishers operating in the
area signed up to the agreement, and could demonstrate an adequate level
of compliance would be important, together with the extent to which the
restrictions adequately protect the biodiversity values of the site. Mataitai
Reserves, Taiapure and Section 186 closures provide for customary Maori
use and management practices rather than to protect biodiversity at the
habitat and ecosystem level. However, they could potentially have the effect
of protecting biodiversity (e.g. if they included a reasonable sized no-take
or highly restricted take area). Including such areas in the MPA network
would require consultation with, and agreement from the tangata whenua.
The only acceptable level of biodiversity protection is complete closure.
Fishermen and Maori (and common sense) don't accept this. A permanent Rahui
(fishing closure) is identical to a No Take Zone.
Resource Management Act Tools
33. Areas of significant conservation value are identified in some regional coastal plans. These areas could potentially be identified for MPAs if they fall within the national priorities. Conversely future MPAs could be added to regional coastal plans. Again the undefined term national priorities, which could include anything.
34. Regional coastal plans must not be inconsistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS). NZCPS policy 1.1.2 states that it is a national priority to "protect areas of significant vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna" in the coastal environment. 1.1.2 (a) states that councils must avoid adverse effects on vulnerable species or nationally outstanding indigenous ecosystems. 1.1.2 (b) then requires councils to avoid or remedy adverse effects on other regionally outstanding and rare ecosystem types. Zoning has been the key tool in which policy 1.1.2 has been given effect to in regional coastal plans. With areas containing ecosystem types listed in 1.1.2 (a) and (b) having the most restrictive controls in relation to use and development. Please note that the NZPCS relates to habitats and zones above water.
35. RMA tools are vital for controlling activities outside the MPA that
will impact on biodiversity in the MPA. For example control of catchment
activities including land use and discharges for a river that feeds into
an estuary may be as important as controlling activities in the estuary
itself. Our focus should not be on protecting marine
reserves but on saving the sea, ALL of it.
36. Marine parks restrict particular activities (e.g. marine dumping, bottom impacting fishing methods), and may include a small no fishing area. Some of the restrictions in the area may already be in place under other legislation like the Fisheries Act. Examples include the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and the Sugarloaf Islands Marine Protected Area. It may be that parts of existing parks with the greatest restrictions in place, rather than the whole park, protect biodiversity to a sufficient level to be included in the network. The Tawharanui marine park offers complete protection and is identical to a marine reserve. Why is this not being acknowledged? Scientific studies treat it as such!
Other tools administered by DoC
37. Marine mammal sanctuaries are set up under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 (administered by the Department of Conservation) to protect marine mammals. The MPA policy is about protection of habitats and ecosystems, rather than particular species. Nevertheless, marine mammal sanctuaries could contribute to the network where the measures to protect against the threats to a marine mammal have the effect of protecting the marine biodiversity of the habitat or ecosystem in the area. This may be the case particularly where sanctuaries are combined with other management tools like fisheries restrictions. Please note that the Marine Mammals Protection Act is an unnecessary duplication of part of the Fisheries Act.
38. Wildlife refuges, sanctuaries and management reserves are established under the Wildlife Act 1953 to protect particular species and their habitats in a defined area. Establishment of Wildlife refuges, sanctuaries and management reserves would not be influenced by this policy as they are targeted at specific species and their habitats. Nevertheless, where refuges, sanctuaries and management reserves are established, they could count towards the network if the measures to protect the wildlife have the effect of protecting the marine habitats and ecosystems in the area.
39. Both national park and reserves (under the Reserves Act) can include
intertidal areas. Some types of parks and reserves provide a high level
of protection and could be used to count towards the network if they are
of sufficient size.
Cable Protection Zones
40. Cable protection zones established under the Submarine Cables and Protection Act 1996 are another example of a management tool that is not used for the purpose of protecting marine habitats and ecosystems. However, in preventing all marine based activity that may threaten cables, they also prevent most marine based activities that may threaten habitat and ecosystem biodiversity values-except for cable laying and maintenance activities. If the degree of protection is sufficient such areas could contribute to the MPA network. The only thing a marine reserve does, is to prohibit fishing. So conversely where fishing is prohibited, the same protection results as from a marine reserve.
Integration with wider Environmental Management
41. Area based marine protection is only one approach to biodiversity protection. Regardless of the management tool used, coastal MPAs are vulnerable to non-point source impacts such as sedimentation, run-off, eutrophication and general pollution. Effective fisheries management and other management tools, such as those under the Resource Management Act, have an important role to play in contributing to the MPA policy objective. Similarly, marine incursions create a significant risk to the achievement of biodiversity outcomes. It is expected that planning and prioritising marine biosecurity work will take into account the location of MPAs. Other risks, such as climate change induced impacts are more difficult to control, and require co-ordinated action both nationally and globally. Only by saving the land can we save the sea. Marine reserves for other purposes than research, recreation, tourism and education, are a waste of time and resources.
42. The Oceans Policy project is expected to strengthen integration of different tools that can contribute to marine management objectives, including marine biodiversity protection. In the interim this Policy Statement and the Implementation Plan will encourage consideration to be given to such impacts. The Department of Conservation's role in regional coastal planning will also be used to encourage councils to give consideration to land-based effects on the marine environment, and particularly impacts on MPAs. The Minister of Conservation has committed to the review of the National Coastal Policy Statement within two years. First of all we must study the ill effects of eutrophication and acknowledge it as the foremost threat to marine biodiversity. Coastal Policy Statements have done nothing at all for the sea.
 The Marine Reserves Bill, which has a specific focus on biodiversity protection, is currently before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. The description of marine reserves as a management tool in this strategy is based on the new Bill rather than the existing Marine Reserves Act.
This section of the MPAPIP looks like still being in a state of development, so expect future changes.
1. The purpose of the document is to outline the plan for implementing the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) policy. This document sets out a process to develop a network of MPAs and best achieve the objective and principles of the policy.
2. The implementation plan will initially apply over a three-year timeframe. Departments anticipate that implementation will be refined over this time given altering legislative frameworks and operational realignments occurring within Departments.
3. Three legislative frameworks contain tools that can be used to achieve the intended objective of the MPA policy - the Fisheries Act, the Marine Reserves Act, and the RMA (as outlined in the MPA Policy Statement). In addition there are a number of tools that indirectly contribute to protection of biodiversity, such as cable protection zones, but the primary purpose of such tools are not biodiversity related. Below the legislation there are various policy frameworks that also influence the operation of Departments and therefore influence the way MPA policy is implemented.
4. The implementation plan reflects the current and proposed legislative and policy frameworks (as outlined in the MPA Policy Statement). In particular it is noted that the Marine Reserves Act is currently under review that will change the basis for implementing a marine reserve. In addition, MFish has commenced a process of developing stock strategies that will outline how the Government intends to manage its Fisheries Act obligations (including biodiversity obligations) in relation to fisheries and fisheries complexes. Note how much simpler everything could be if we dealt only with the Fisheries Act and abolished the MRA now. Note also that the proposed Marine Reserves Bill, may not make it to law. In this light the whole MPAPIP is very premature, yet full implementation could still go ahead under the Fisheries Act. Note also that abolishing the MRA would be politically more feasible than passing the ill-drafted Bill, which after such strong defeat and such long delay, should go through all committee stages again.
Integration of Departmental Processes
5. The process for implementing the MPA policy is attached as Annex One. The process contains a number of broad areas of commonality where integration of processes can achieve efficiency gains and provide a coordinated approach to meeting the policy objective for MPAs. Note that coordinated approach means mobilising all government departments. It does not mean consultation, for otherwise a budget would have been made available for disadvantaged stakeholders to take part.
6. The MPA implementation process consists of three broad components - a policy/standards phase, an operational phase, and monitoring. Monitoring will be undertaken in relation to both the establishment of a network of MPAs and performance of MPAs in protecting biodiversity. In undertaking these three components, MFish and DOC will give effect to the principles outlined in the MPA policy statement. In particular, the implementation plan clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of MFish and DOC in line with generic principle 2. Monitoring without management action is senseless and a waste of money. It should be made clear that management action like abandoning the reserve status, follows in case an NTZ fails to meet its objective. How could otherwise co-operation from stakeholders be expected?
7. The implementation process is not strictly linear in nature as depicted diagrammatically in Annex One. A number of initiatives are underway, or will be undertaken, that are not necessarily reliant on any preceding step having been completed. DoC's behaviour has always been unilaterally deceitful, as documented extensively on the Seafriends web site. It would be doubtful that any stakeholder group would take part in the MPAPIP with DoC as untrustworthy 'partner'. To show goodwill, DoC must first abolish all marine reserves that have been defeated or are still in the process, so that the same criteria and processes will apply to all MPA proposals, NOW and in the future. Alternatively, DoC should be removed from the sea.
8. The policy/standards phase consists of:
a. Identifying (subsequently updating) existing inventory of MPAs;
b. Application of the classification system, agreed information standards, and MPA principles; Note that classification system means the classification of habitats and environments, not the IUCN classification of degree of protection.
c. Consideration of information provided by an expert technical group about particular areas; and
d. Identifying & reviewing national priorities - includes providing information to Ministers on progress implementing the policy, making refinements to the implementation plan, and identifying specific high priority areas based on new information (in accordance with generic principle 1). The first time that national priority is described (but not defined): feedback to politicians + plan changes + identifying NTZs. The sting here is that national priority is bound to override all other considerations.
9. Two key elements will underpin the success of the MPA policy - information on biodiversity and classification systems. The officials group, as part of the policy/standards phase, will develop information standards (see section on "Inter-Agency Coordination"). The idea is that scientists and policy analysts make the leading decisions and control the process by creating information standards. It is desirable to have standards of excellence, but as long as these standards remain unknown, anything is possible. See also 10) below. Is this democratic or inclusive? Should stakeholders take part in this process?
10. The MPA policy statement envisages that best available information
will be used to guide decision-making (generic principle 7). The information
standards will outline:
a. the process for gathering information, including possible information sources;
b. what types of information should be gathered; and
c. how information should be assessed.
11. The process for determining priorities should be based on an analysis of existing measures that protect biodiversity against an assessment of environment classes/habitat types. Assessment of the gap between existing protection measures and environment classes/habitat types along with likely existing impacts on those environment classes/habitat types and the sensitivity of those areas to impact will derive priority for action under the MPA. Oops, considering scientists' present ignorance of the marine environment and its major threats, combined with persistent refusal to study degradation, anything is possible here.
12. A priority for development as part of the standards framework, is the use of an agreed classification system. The purpose of the classification system is to identify different environment classes within the EEZ and categorise those environment classes in terms of biodiversity. As part of the classification system, agreement is required as to the scale at which marine environments are classified (see network principles 2 & 3). With this framework, appropriate sites for protection can be identified. For those unfamiliar with the marine environment, this statement amounts to a lot of hot air. Knowledge of environment classes (which do not exist, and will be determined by a statistical Principal Component Analysis by computer) is no better than just placing marine reserves here and there along the whole coast.
13. In the short term, a complete habitat/environment class classification
system will not be available. Existing tools, namely the Marine Environment
Classification (MEC) and the Interim Near-shore Marine Classification (INMARC),
will be used and refined as the information basis is developed over time.
In addition, certain decision support tools may be used. Alternate classification
systems may be used in future, as they are developed. Note,
the idea of having many large MPAs, is and can only be, for saving the
sea. We should ask ourselves first of all: what do we need to do to save
the sea? Note that this question is not asked, and research is not directed
at answering this question, as also no funds have been made available for
doing so. The question then becomes: how effective can paragraphs 11-13
14. The operational phase consists of:
a. Implementation by Departments of legislative and policy tools,
b. Coordination of those processes provided by an inter-agency group; and
c. Decisions by Ministers on use of best fit tools (where required).
Did we miss something? Where are the stakeholders?
15. Departments will be responsible for delivering on their respective legislative obligations. For MFish the primary focus is the development of stock strategies. For DOC the primary focus is on the implementation of marine reserves and updating of the New Zealand Coastal policy statement.
16. In delivering on their legislative obligations, MFish and DOC will be guided by the principles outlined in the policy statement. In particular, Departments will be cognizant of the special relationship between the Crown and Maori (generic principle 5), the role of property rights (as reflected in relevant legislative tests and generic principle 4) and the network and site and tool selection principles. Departments will undertake separate consultation on management tools within their legislatively mandated areas of responsibility. The respective processes undertaken by DOC and MFish will be conducted in a transparent manner (generic principle 10). Just in case you missed the sting here: DOC controls the whole process with its Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS), which directs all other government departments (including MFish) into action. Staying behind or opting out is not an option. What could be seen as positive, is the single NZCPS, which could act as a de-facto Oceans Policy. As such it will also most likely strand in a morass of difficulties.
MFish Stock Strategies
17. MFish will shortly commence consultation with stakeholders on the proposed number and grouping of the strategies. Stock strategies will set objectives, consider risk against those objectives and outline the set of the tools the Government will use in each fishery to manage risk of failing to achieve the objectives. A panel comprised of subject matter experts will undertake a risk and value assessment. The risk and value assessment will include an evaluation of the effects of fishing on the aquatic environment and lead to the development of appropriate mitigation measures, which will include implementation of measures that meet the site selection principles, and may as a result qualify as contributing to the MPA network. Decisions on the precise location of appropriate measures will be sought to ensure that the most significant biodiversity protection gains can be achieved (network principle 5). Who selects the panel of subject matter experts? Will they report to MFish or Government or DoC? A very risky situation here!
18. The completion of stock strategies has been staggered to ensure that those fisheries with highest risk and opportunities (in terms of improving fisheries management outcomes, including maintenance of biodiversity) are completed first. The stock strategy project plan (subject to consultation) anticipates that the majority of stock strategies will be developed by August 2005; and hence consideration of areas likely to be high priority for implementation of the MPA policy will have occurred by that date. As part of the development of stock strategies by August 2005, all areas of the EEZ will be encapsulated in those strategies. May we conclude that all decisions have already been made before consultation takes place, just waiting to be rubber-stamped?
19. Stock strategies will be a living document in that as information and therefore risks change or new risks are identified, consideration will need to be given to altering use of existing tools or implementing new tools to addresses those risks.
Department of Conservation Regional Approach
20. The Department is developing a regional approach to site selection for marine reserves to satisfy a long held requirement to lift this process to a strategic level. The approach is based on 8 marine biogeographic regions (derived from scientific consensus, as outlined in the draft INMARC report). The initial focus will be on the near-shore to 12 nautical miles in accordance with the mandate of the existing Marine Reserves Act. Other classifications and decision making tools to assist with offshore MPA site selection will be used when the Marine Reserves Bill is passed. The sting here is that DOC will still be doing business as usual, promoting marine reserves on a regional basis, thus bypassing the consultative and integrative purpose of the MPAPIP, which is also regionally-divisive. Here it acknowledges the limited mandate of the operational Marine Reserves Act, but still defines marine reserves for biodiversity as per defeated Marine Reserves Bill.
21. The regional approach envisages a three stage process:
1. Expert groups
Using both the Marine Environment Classification (MEC) and the Interim Near-shore Marine Classification (INMARC) the Department proposes to seek advice from experts drawn from matauranga Maori and marine science, including biological, ecological and biogeographical expertise. These individuals would be as knowledgeable as possible of the particular region under review. Groups will be convened on a biogeographic regional or sub-regional basis. The task of each group will be to provide advice drawing on all available information relevant to the task of identifying the habitats that can be regarded as best defining the regionís marine biodiversity habitats and eco-systems. Particular attention would be given to identifying known areas containing rare and unique marine communities and sites that might be considered as typical or representative of that region. The group would prepare a report for the Department, and it will be made public. The expert group consists of scientists and Maori but not of fishing interests.
2. Regional consultation with stakeholders
The Department proposes to convene meetings in each region with stakeholders, user groups, conservation interests and tangata whenua, jointly or individually, to begin a process of identifying in consultation with them, priorities for protection and sites within the near-shore marine environment that could meet the requirements and goals of the NZ Biodiversity Strategy and the MPA policy objective. Drawing on the expert group reports and information from user groups and iwi the Department's objective will be to determine how to best fit the needs and aspirations of current use and biodiversity protection. The objective, where possible, will be to seek a consensus on the pattern of use, needs for area protection and identify potential sites for marine reserves. MFish will engage in the regional consultation (within resourcing constraints) to ascertain first-hand the views of stakeholders. Stakeholder views about potential fisheries measures will be used as an input in updating the risk and value assessment as part of the stock strategy(s) for the particular region. Information obtained in the consultation process on possible use of other legislative tools will be directed to the relevant Department. The process will take full account of area protection for biodiversity already existing. The process will also ensure that the marine reserves pre-formal application requirements of current practice and those envisaged in the Marine Reserves Bill are fully met. The process is consistent with the approach that each Department is responsible for delivering on its respective legislative obligations. In other words, business as usual with most likely also confrontational tactics, as borne out by the marine reserve proposals put forward in 2006.
3. Statutory process for marine reserves
The Department will proceed into formal marine reserve applications (individual or multiple) based on the information gathered in the above stages, including knowledge of user needs and impacts. It will aim to work towards consensus that has been reached with communities of interests at stage 2, while always mindful of the objectives and goals for marine protection. Business as usual.
22. As at October 2004 these approaches have not been completed in any region although trialled in some aspects in Northland and South Island, at least to expert group level. These and other pilots will be developed into standard practice which itself may be expected to evolve and be modified in light of experience. Present planning is for the following programme to be followed:
23. This programme is expressed for practical convenience as projects that collectively will conform to and ensure coverage of all biogeographic regions. The programme is tentative beyond 2005 and will need to be augmented by investigation of the potential for marine reserves in the wider EEZ on passage of the Marine Reserve Bill and may be refined in response to the assessment of national priorities. Note that the MR Bill would give DOC almost dictatorial authority extending into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). By comparison the present Fisheries Act already operates over the entire EEZ.
24. Information obtained from the expert groups and regional stakeholder consultation will help inform and refine the classification system that is used by DOC and MFish in the course of their respective processes.
Coordination of Processes
25. Each Department will be responsible for undertaking its own analytical process to determine requirements to meet its respective legislative obligations (DOC's regional approach; MFish stock strategies). Those processes will be informed by the Classification system, current inventory of MPAs, identified national priorities, and best available information. Separate consultation processes are preferred because delaying consultation or reconsulting on stock strategies to meet, or as part of, the proposed DOC regional timetable would result in MFish being unable to meet its objective of completing the "development phase" of stock strategies by August 2005. MFish is also required to undertake a separate process to provide for input and participation of tangata whenua. In addition, changing legislative accountability under the Marine Reserves Bill changes the role MFish plays in Marine Reserves from one of concurrence to one of consultation. This further reduces the need for MFish to be actively involved in stakeholder consultation related to implementation of Marine Reserves. The sting is clearly the MR Bill which places the fishermen out of field, giving unrestrained authority over NTZs and their implementation to DOC. A dangerous situation.
26. However, points of interaction between DOC and MFish are proposed at the operational phase. The Departments propose to share information that arises from the respective process - the mechanism that will be adopted to provide inter-agency coordination is outlined below. In particular, information derived by DOC as part of the regional approach will be provided to MFish to inform the risk and value assessment process for stock strategies and determination of appropriate fisheries interventions. MFish will inform DOC of the proposed fisheries interventions arising out of stock strategies. In particular, the Departments will share information derived through the respective consultation processes. The Departments will also look to assess common information needs and coordinate research requirements to avoid possible duplication (generic principle 6).
27. The Departments will look to avoid duplicating or overlapping measures
in a specific are as and/or environment classes. MFish and DOC will seek
to resolve differences over application of the policy statement principles
to any particular site, including use of the best-fit tool, prior to formal
implementation of a statutory too1. Where the Departments are unable to
resolve differences the issue will be submitted to Ministers. The Departments
will provide Ministers with appropriate information to enable an informed
decision to be made.
Monitoring of MPA Implementation
28. The officials group will be responsible for all monitoring undertaken as part of the implementation of MPAs. In line with generic principle 9, monitoring will consist of the following aspects:
a. maintaining the inventory of MPAs;
b. monitoring the integrity and contribution of individual MPAs; and
c. monitoring the performance of the MPA network against its objectives.
29. The inventory needs to be updated on a regular basis. The officials group will be responsible for ensuring this occurs.
30. A high level of interaction and coordination between DOC and MFish is proposed as part of the implementation plan (generic principle 10). An officials group, consisting of representatives from MFish and DOC will be formed to undertake this role. DOC and MFish will develop terms of reference for the inter-agency group. As an initial guide, it is proposed that the role of the interagency group will consist of:a. promoting inter-departmental discussion and exchange of information to inform processes undertaken by respective Departments;
b. ensuring consistent application of MPA policy principles and classification system by each Department;
c. identifying national priorities on an annual basis;
d. assessing common information needs and coordinating research to avoid possible duplication, and where appropriate jointly commissioning research;
e. developing monitoring tools and processes;
f. discussing outcome of consultation processes;
g. assessing use of best fit tool for high priority areas;
h. assessing potential duplication and overlap of tools proposed to be implemented by respective Departments and deficiencies in the MPA network; and
i. providing advice to Ministers on tool to be adopted where duplication, overlap or differences between Departments over tool selection arise.
31. Membership of the inter-agency group will consist of representatives from MFish and DOC. The representatives from MFish will be drawn from the Standards team and staff actively involved in the development of stock strategies. For DOC, representatives will be drawn primarily from the Marine Conservation Unit. Where do the stakeholders fit in?
32. The inter-agency group will be supported by information provided by a technical group, comprised of representatives of the DOC and MFish science personnel and external scientists. The technical working group will be responsible for providing information on biodiversity in different areas and nature and extent of potential threats in those areas, based on existing use. A key role of the technical working group also will be to provide an assessment on potential duplication of tools based on the classification system.
Annual Operating Plan
33. The process for implementing the MPA policy is likely to change over time given change in legislative, policy and operational frameworks of the relevant Departments. Implementation of measures will occur over a 4-5 year time frame to complete the inventory requirements across all areas.
34. In the short term, it is anticipated that interaction between relevant Departments will develop as the proposed legislative (Marine Reserve Bill) and policy (stock strategy) tools are implemented. For MFish, the immediate focus over the next year will be the development of stock strategies. The completion of the risk and value assessment as part of stock strategies will form a key component of information gathering and priority setting component of MPA implementation.
35. The result is that incremental steps will be achieved over the next one to three years as a number of elements are implemented. Outlined below are tasks identified to progress implementation over the next three years. The implementation process provides a very clear picture that the next three years constitute a transitional phase as processes and officials groups are established, classification system developed, and tools implemented.
36. Year One (2004/05 financial year) consists of:
a. Development of the annual operating plan;
b. Passage of Marine Reserves legislation;
c. Development of stocks strategies;
d. Continuation of current business:
i. progression of existing marine reserve applications;
ii. implementation of measures under Fisheries Act, where identified under existing processes; and
iii. continuation of existing near shore marine protection regional approach (as outlined in "Operational Phase" above);
e. Development of information standards;
f. Agreement on initial classification systems, which are adopted in Departmental processes;
g. Preparation of inventory of existing management measures which protect biodiversity within the Exclusive Economic Zone & commence additional information gathering necessary to assist in assessing specific areas;
h. Formation of inter-agency group and technical group and specification of roles and responsibilities;
i. Maintaining the inventory of MPAs; and
j. Monitoring the integrity and contribution of individual MPAs.
37. Year Two (2005/06) consists of:
a. Development of the annual operating plan, including identification of national priorities;
b. Implementation of fisheries interventions and services under stock strategies;
c. Continuation of current business for existing marine reserve applications;
d. Continuation of DOC regional approach;
e. Development of marine reserve proposals under new legislation;
f. Operation of relevant groups and application of relevant standards;
g. Ongoing refinement of classification system;
h. Assessment of information requirements;
i. Maintaining the inventory of MPAs; and
j. Monitoring the integrity and contribution of individual MPAs.
38. Year Three (2006/07) consists of full implementation of the MPA
a. Development of the annual operating plan, including identification of national priorities;
b. Updating of first generation stock strategies;
c. Implementation of MPA tools under marine reserves arid fisheries legislation;
d. Continuation of DOC regional approach;
e. Ongoing refinement of classification system;
f. Assessment of information requirements; and
g. Monitoring contribution of individual MPAs and MPA network.
From a stakeholder's perspective, the Operational Plan quite clearly shows that the whole MPAPIP is just a smoke screen for doing business as usual on a regional basis as usual, with likely confrontation and fierce opposition as usual. It is not about true consultation and inclusion but about fast-tracking a political agenda for unconstitutional reasons. For if consultation, in an integrated approach had real priority, the time schedule would have waited for such to happen first. It would at least have mentioned it. Government would also have dealt with the long list of serious stakeholder concerns at the beginning of this document, before going ahead.
Now consider for a moment the recent ecological discoveries made by Dr Floor Anthoni, which indicate that New Zealand has entered a new era of rapidly worsening sick seas dominated by recruitment failure, disease and death; a new epoch where conventional management measures like marine reserves and fisheries controls will become less and less effective. Consider also that scientists have refused to engage with these ground-breaking discoveries that explain how this mysterious disease works. Scientists are thereby indirectly the cause of indefinite postponement of the only remedial actions that could have worked to save the seas. Then ask yourself, what chance does the MPAPIP have to succeed?
Visit www.seafriends.org.nz/decay/ and www.seafriends.org.nz/dda/ to study what is happening to our seas.