24 Mar 2017

Cooks environmentalists delighted at 50 mile zone

7:46 am on 24 March 2017

Cook Islands environmentalists are delighted at the government's decision to establish 50 nautical mile exclusion zones around each island in the country.

The Cabinet this week unanimously backed the push by landowners and environmentalists to extend the zone to protect fish stocks.

Prime Minister Henry Puna said it was a vital move to ensure food security and preserve the ocean.

Environmental group Te Upukarea Society spokesperson Kelvin Passfield said they were very happy with the move.

"50 nautical miles means we have got a meaningful area of protection area around our islands now, and from the viewpoint of the Marae Moana Marine Park, I think we can now safely say that we honestly do have a marine park that means something," said Mr Passfield.

The Marae Moana Marine Park, a plan announced by Mr Puna several years ago, aims to manage the ocean sustainably.

It is projected to cover about two million square kilometres.