New Zealand’s Marine Sanctuary Plan Receives Both Praise And Criticism

New Zealand is creating a marine sanctuary that is the size of France off the coast of the island, but the announcement is receiving a mixed reaction. According to, the announcement was made by the New Zealand Prime Minister at an UN General Assembly in New York.

The marine sanctuary will be located off the northeast coast of New Zealand, and it is the size of France. Within the protected area, there will be a ban on fishing and mining.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke openly about the zone during the UN General Assembly, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas. This is an area twice the size of our land mass and 50 times the size of our largest national park. It is truly a special place, and we want to keep it that way. The new sanctuary will preserve the home of a huge range of species – millions of sea birds and whales and dolphins, endangered turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life will be better protected.”

Two graphics shared on Twitter give an even better idea of the animals and places that will be protected within the zone.

The creation of this protected marine zone off New Zealand has received a lot of praise by conservationists, but fishermen that work those waters are not happy. This area would be completely off limits to them in the future, and this could have an impact on their earnings.

Several people involved in the New Zealand fishing industry have spoken up about the creation of this marine sanctuary. Chairman of Seafood New Zealand said, “With no forewarning from government, the industry needs time to consider the full implications.”

Charles Hufflett, the managing director of Solander Seafood and Fishing, spoke about the impact the fishing ban in the area would have on the tuna fishing industry. In 2013, tuna was the fourth largest seafood export from New Zealand. Hufflett spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the impact.

“They know an awful lot about moo cows and baa lambs, but nothing really about the different fish species. We have only really just developed a domestic tuna industry of any size and they are taking away this valuable area.”

On the opposite side of the issue, conservationists are definitely happy about the announcement made by John Key. Some could not contain their excitement about the news. Scoop New Zealand reported that the main campaigners for the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary called the announcement “pretty damned exciting news.”

Chris Howard, WWF New Zealand’s chief executive, praised the announcement. He said, “We congratulate the government for taking decisive action to protect this incredibly special area from mining and fishing. This decision puts New Zealand back at the forefront of marine protection on the global stage.”

Matt Rand, director of the Pew Charitable Trust, revealed the global plan when it comes to protecting the world’s oceans. According to the Guardian, he said the plan is to safeguard 30 percent of the world’s oceans by turning them into marine sanctuary areas like this one announced this week.

On social media, the reaction to the creation of the marine sanctuary is highly positive. The announcement received praise by many Twitter users.

What do you think about this announcement? Is this conservation effort a step in the right direction?

[Photo: Twitter]