15 Mar 2014

New marine reserves for the Coast

11:03 pm on 15 March 2014

The Conservation Minister has announced the establishment of five new marine reserves on the South Island West Coast.

Nick Smith made the announcement at the Blue Green conference being held in Kaikoura this weekend.

The new reserves will be established at Kahurangi, Punakaiki, Okarito, Tauparikaka and Hautai.

Dr Smith approved the reserves last year, but today told delegates they have now passed the final hurdle, after being signed off by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

He says the new reserves will protect some of the most spectacular coastlines in the world and are expected to benefit species including the Hector's dolphin and the New Zealand fur seals, as well as numerous fish and bird species.

He says his aim is to create a record number of marine reserves this year.

Hector’s dolphins.

Hector’s dolphins. Photo: Steve Dawson