Benthic Protection Areas

NZ ProtectedAreasV2 600 849Benthic protection areasSince 2007, 1.2 million sq km of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) seabed (4 times the size of NZ landmass) has been closed to trawling and dredging. This includes seamounts and hydrothermal vents. This was proposed by the fishing industry in response to the publication of the MPA policy released in 2005. Part of the deal with the government was that further MPA proposals for the EEZ outside the 12nm territorial sea would be put on hold until 2013. With this date been and gone, it remains to be seen if further protection will be initiated in the deep sea. It is expensive and difficult to get information on our deep sea's ecosystems and the size of the EEZ is very large indeed. The long delay in reforming the Marine Reserve Act to enable jurisdiction outside the 12 mile limit has also slowed this process.

There are resources about the Benthic Protection Zones on both the DoC and MPI web site below.
DOC on Benthic Protection Zones

MPI on Benthic Protection Zones

Important note: Benthic Protection Areas do not meet the MPA policy standard as they only protect the benthos and not the adjoining pelagic ecosystems. In the case of the Campbell Island and Bounty Island marine protected areas, the already existing benthic protected area had a ban on dredging and danish seining placed over the top, meeting the type 2 marine protected area standard.

Further Reading

Proposed Marine Protected Areas Bill Discussion Document
Fisheries (Benthic Protection Areas) Regulations 2007

A very valuable technical report on using decision support modeling software to evaluate the conservation gains vs fisheries loss of the Benthic Protection Zones and other possible arrangement of reserves. Leathwick et al Novel Methods of Design of Offshore MPA's

Have a look at the slide show below of some of New Zeland's offshore Sea Mounts 


Sidebar Menu