Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Agriculture
Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries
Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education
14 February 2006
World’s largest EEZ marine conservation measure proposed
“An unprecedented win-win for conservationists and fishermen,” is how Minister of Fisheries Jim Anderton describes the
development of a draft accord between the Minister of Fisheries and New Zealand deepwater fishing companies.
“Industry leaders have agreed to close more than thirty percent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to bottom
trawling and dredging,” Jim Anderton said. “I congratulate the industry for this and strongly support their initiative.
It is a bold move, and indicates their foresight and willingness to work with the Government in looking after New
Zealand’s marine ecosystems and habitats.”
The draft accord proposes to close some 1.2 million square kilometres – almost one third of New Zealand’s EEZ - to
bottom trawling and dredging. When added to New Zealand deepwater areas already closed, the proposed closures would mean
that 42 percent of seamounts in New Zealand waters will be protected. This would be the largest single marine protection
measure ever proposed within a nation state’s EEZ.
The proposed closures would extend from the Subantarctic waters south of Campbell Island to our Subtropical Kermadec
region. They lie across a range of depths, and cover a range of habitats that broadly represent New Zealand offshore
“These areas have had little or no bottom trawling or dredging in the past, so we expect their ecosystems and habitats
are relatively intact,” Jim Anderton said. “The extent of these proposed closures means they will go a long way towards
meeting the offshore objectives of our recent Marine Protected Areas policy,” Jim Anderton said. “In this, they
represent a win for both conservationists and fishermen.”
The Marine Protected Areas Policy was jointly developed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Conservation, and
aims to create a network of marine protection across New Zealand’s territorial seas and EEZ. The network will include
representative examples of marine habitats and ecosystems, as well as special places that are considered outstanding or
“Our next step is to run a public consultation on the proposal, Jim Anderton said. “We would hope to have regulations to
implement closures in place by October 1st this year.”
Jim Anderton said that if he finally agrees to the proposal he will “reserve the right to make further closures if
significant new information becomes available that would materially affect whether the Benthic Protection Areas remain
adequate and broadly representative of the benthic environment within the EEZ”.
Jim Anderton says industry leaders have also suggested some bottom trawling and dredging closures in deep water areas
beyond New Zealand’s EEZ. He says these proposals can be progressed either through interim measures, or the new regional
fisheries management organisation that will cover that area.
“This proposal will allow substantial progress in achieving the Government’s marine biodiversity protection objectives
in the offshore waters and demonstrates our industry’s enterprise and responsibility in being willing to take pro-active
steps to preserve the capacity of the marine environment from which they harvest”, Jim Anderton concluded.