The 14-member forum to consider marine protection for the Otago coastline has been announced by the Minister for Conservation.

Forum members are mainly from Otago and represent a wide cross-section of sectors interested in marine protection.

58 nominations were received for this forum. They were assessed by DOC and MPI and the Ministers of Conservation and Primary Industries appointed the chair and endorsed appointment of the other forum members

Chair Ms Maree Baker-Galloway  
Members Mr Neville Peat Community
Member Ms Sue Maturin Environmental
Member Ms Philippa Agnew Environmental
Member Mr Fergus Sutherland Tourism
Member Mr Nelson Cross Recreational Fishing
Member Mr Tim Ritchie Recreational Fishing
Member Ms Carol Scott Commercial Fishing
Member Mr Simon Gilmour Commercial Fishing
Member Mr Ate Heineman Commercial Fishing
Member Dr Chris Hepburn Marine Science
Ngai tahu members
Ms Steph Blair Awarua Ms Gail Thompson  Awarua
Mr Edward Ellison  Otakou Ms Khyla Russell  Puketeraki
Mr John Henry  Arowhenua Ms Pauline Reid  Waihao

The forum will convene shortly and is expected to make its recommendation to the Ministers of Conservation and Primary Industries by early 2016 on the location and types of marine protected areas that should be established in the Otago region.

This recommendation will represent a consensus within the forum, and a balanced consideration of the needs and views of those consulted. It should also aim to cover the full range of marine habitats and ecosystems within the region, as well as those that are rare, distinctive or internationally or nationally important.

The forum will take a collaborative approach to marine protection by seeking to involve all key stakeholders, local communities and interest groups at the beginning of the process. They will seek their views about marine protection for the southern part of the South Island's east coast (there are no predetermined sites) and try to build broad community agreement.

The forum will also consider any available scientific information. Technical support, information and advice will be provided by the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

New Zealand has a nationwide network of marine reserves, however, Otago stands out as being the only region in the country without a marine protected area.

Otago Peninsula from Harington Point. Photo: Matt Chan/flickrOtago Peninsula from Harington Point

Otago marine bioregion

Map of proposed Otago Marine Protection Planning Forum area (PDF, 1,730)

The Otago Marine Protection Planning Forum will be asked to focus on the coastline between Timaru in the north, to Waipapa Point on the southern coast. This is part of the "Southern South Island coastal bioregion", one of New Zealand's 14 marine "biogeographic regions" (bioregions).

The bioregion classifications were published in 2008, as part of implementing the Marine Protected Areas Policy (2005).

Useful information

Anyone wishing to participate in the forum or consultation should look at these documents:

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