Yesterday, the Conservation Minister, Dr Nick Smith, went to Akaroa near Christchurch to tell local people that part of the harbour will be a marine reserve.
A marine reserve is like a park for recreation in the sea. It means that nobody can catch fish in that area. The reason for the reserve is give fish numbers a chance to increase. Fish species in Akaroa harbour have decreased in recent years. For example, it is very difficult now to catch a good-size blue cod in the harbour. Akaroa harbour is home to the endangered Hectors dolphin. It is important to protect the food for these small dolphins.
The Akaroa Marine Protection Society has been trying since 1996 for a 530 ha marine reserve. The group had the support of 2334 people who made submissions to Parliament. 709 submissions, mostly from fishermen, were against a reserve. Dr Smith thought about the needs of people wanting to fish so he cut the size of the reserve by 55ha to 475ha.
This part of the harbour is a beautiful area with high rocky cliffs, caves and many sea birds. After meeting local people, Dr Smith went for a paddle in a kayak to enjoy the reserve.
• marine – sea
• conservation – protecting the environment
• recreation – play, leisure
• species – different kinds e.g. cod, snapper, kingfish
• endangered – in danger of being extinct
• submissions – letters to Parliament
• kayak – type of canoe