A significant step in protecting the Fiordland Marine Area got the final seal of approval at today’s council meeting.
The Fiordland Marine Regional Pathway Management Plan aims to protect the unique and nationally significant area from marine pests which can be carried in on local and visiting vessels.
Environment Southland biosecurity manager Richard Bowman said the Plan has been developed over several years by a partnership group, including Environment Southland, Fiordland Marine Guardians, Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and Ngāi Tahu.
“It is really exciting to see the plan get to this final stage and we look forward to implementing it. We have worked hard with local industry and interest groups to get a plan that is both practical and will achieve the results required.
“Fiordland is extremely significant, both ecologically and economically and we know that marine pests pose one of the biggest threats.”
The plan sets out a number of rules and standards that must be met by all vessels entering within one nautical mile of the landward boundary of the Fiordland Marine Area and requires vessel operators to obtain a Clean Vessel Pass.
Ministry for Primary Industries recovery and pest management manager John Sanson said MPI is very pleased that Environment Southland is implementing the Fiordland Marine Pathways Plan.
“This is the first regional pathways management plan to be actioned in New Zealand so is a significant milestone. MPI has worked closely with the council and the Fiordland Marine Guardians over many years to protect Fiordland’s unique and highly-valued marine environment from the impacts of marine pests.
“The pathway plan is a welcome measure that will build on and strengthen existing efforts to keep marine pests out of the area. MPI will support the future operation of the plan as part of its ongoing commitment to the Fiordland marine programme.”
Vessel operators can start applying for their Clean Vessel Passes from Wednesday 12 April. They can do this either online at www.es.govt.nz/fmpp or by contacting Environment Southland on 0800 76 88 45.