5 Jan 2011

Marine reserve target still far off

6:02 am on 5 January 2011

A marine protection advocate accuses the Government of being badly off a target of protecting New Zealand coastlines and further out to sea.

A biodiversity strategy written 10 years ago by the previous Government, set a goal of protecting 10% of the marine environment by the end of last year.

A decade afterwards, marine reserves still cover less than one-thirtieth of the target.

Dr Roger Grace, an independent specialist on marine reserves, says there are huge gaps on South Island coasts where reserves should be.

Dr Grace says the strategy has stalled, with the Government blocking work to create new reserves such as in Akaroa Harbour.

But the Recreational Fishing Council says there's no agreement about what the 10% policy actually means.