Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
Australian Minister for the
Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Chris Carter MP
New Zealand Minister for
J O I N T M E D I A R E L E A S E
Friday, 24 November 2006
Agreement on Trans Tasman Marine Conservation Measures
Australia and New Zealand have reached agreement on a range of marine environmental measures which pave the way for a
new era of ocean management between the two countries.
Four key areas of marine environmental protection have been identified as priorities for co-operation at today’s meeting
of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council in Christchurch, New Zealand. They include:
- a commitment to explore the possibility of marine protection in areas where the exclusive economic zones of Australia
and New Zealand meet, and the science necessary to underpin such protection.
- leading efforts to conserve whales through the International Whaling Commission and the Convention on the Conservation
of Migratory Species of Wild Animals;
- jointly developing a Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific
Region, which has now been signed by nine countries;
- leading efforts to conserve albatrosses and petrels through the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and
Negotiations first commenced when Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator the Hon Ian Campbell met
with New Zealand’s Minister for Conservation, the Hon. Chris Carter MP, in 2004.
Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, the Hon. Greg Hunt, led negotiations
today that secured a firm commitment from both nations to explore how constructive steps can be taken to secure the
sustainability of our marine environment.
At the conclusion of the talks, Senator Campbell said, “The Governments of Australia and New Zealand are showing the
world what cooperation can achieve in marine environment protection and biodiversity conservation and today’s agreement
strengthens our ties,’’
Mr Carter said the communiqué marked an exciting opportunity for both countries.
"I look forward to significant progress resulting from this initiative. Australia and New Zealand face many of the same
marine issues; there is no fence between our waters. We can help each other, and in doing so we can help the marine
species we share."
NOTE: Please see attached Communiqué for greater detail
Australia and New Zealand lead the way on cross boundary conservation of marine biodiversity
Australia and New Zealand share many values in relation to the conservation and management of marine biodiversity and
resources and have demonstrated what can be achieved through cooperation in areas of science and policy.
Australia and New Zealand are cooperating to ensure the conservation and management of important marine ecosystems
through marine protected areas. Australia recently discussed the development of oceans policy with New Zealand at an
international workshop to develop New Zealand’s oceans policy. Australia has developed the world’s first comprehensive,
national framework for ensuring the long-term health and productivity of its oceans. At the core of Australia’s Oceans
Policy is a commitment to ecosystem-based management, which is now being implemented through marine bioregional
planning. This world-leading cross-sectoral approach to oceans management sets a new global benchmark for the
sustainable use and conservation of marine resources, including the establishment of Australia’s National Representative
System of Marine Protected Areas.
Australia and New Zealand have agreed to work together to meet their obligations under the Convention on Biological
Diversity and the World Summit on Sustainable Development towards the establishment of a representative global network
of marine protected areas by 2012. Trans-Tasman cooperation will build on national and regional systems through the
development of complementary regional programmes and policies, and international agreements. This co-operation will
extend to exploring the possibility of marine protection in areas where Australia and New Zealand's exclusive economic
Australia and New Zealand are also committed to exploring opportunities for technical cooperation to improve the
scientific basis for the conservation and management of marine biodiversity and resources in the Tasman Sea.
Cooperation between Australia and New Zealand on the NORFANZ cruise has resulted in the release earlier this year of an
assessment of the conservation values of the Norfolk Island Seamounts Area. The cruise found a high level of diversity
and endemism on seamounts sampled. Thirty-six per cent of species sampled were new to science, including fishes,
octopus, squat lobsters, prawns, krill, seaspiders, brittle stars, and hydroids. Many of the seamounts sampled appeared
to be isolated marine systems in pristine condition, and may provide an exceptional opportunity to examine evolution and
specialisation in the deep sea. This collaboration saw unprecedented trans-Tasman cooperation at the political,
managerial and scientific levels.
The benefits of trans-Tasman cooperation extend to the conservation and management of migratory marine species,
including whales, marine turtles and seabirds.
Australia and New Zealand are leading efforts to conserve whales through cooperation at international for a, including
the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
Regionally, Australia and New Zealand are working together on best practice whale rescue initiatives and are keen to
share their expertise with other Pacific countries. A recent Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) workshop
held in Auckland brought together South Pacific managers to hear about the Australian and New Zealand experiences on
entanglement issues and ways of responding to stranding events. Australian and New Zealand environment officials are
holding bilateral discussions to exchange information and develop a collaborative programme on a range of issues
including whale and dolphin strandings, disentanglement strategies, whale watching guidelines and whale research. The
possibility of a shared data base to record whale sighting and stranding information on a regional basis is currently
being investigated with a view to improving our collective knowledge and subsequent management responses to our shared
migratory populations. This initiative could provide greater understanding of stranding events in the Pacific region.
Australia and New Zealand have been leading countries in the development of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding for the
Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Region which was opened for signature at the SPREP 17th
Environment Ministers meeting in Noumea in September 2006 and signed by nine countries, including Australia and New
Zealand. As with whales, marine turtles are a key priority under CMS and Australia and New Zealand could work
cooperatively towards ensuring their protection through the development of a Memorandum of Understanding for marine
turtles under CMS.
Australia and New Zealand are leading efforts to conserve albatrosses and petrels through the Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). New Zealand hosted the 2nd session of the Meeting of Parties last week.
This meeting resulted in some significant milestones for the Agreement. The location of the headquarters was finalised
and will be based in Hobart. Parties also discussed a range of programmes that provide international guidance on
albatross and petrel conservation. An important milestone was reached with the number of parties ratifying the agreement
reaching ten. Of particular importance is the recent ratification to the Agreement by Argentina, and by France and Chile