The chairman of Outdoor Recreation New Zealand, Paul Check, has challenged an assertion by a senior Department of Conservation official that âthey [marine reserves] are worth the waitâ. Mr Check said that Marine Manager Felicity Wongâs assertions that monitoring of 12 out of 18 marine reserves around the country has shown significant improvements in marine environmental values are worthless in the absence of published and verifiable scientific data. âWhile ORNZ is not totally opposed to marine reserves, there are major concerns over the fast tracking of a large number of coastal marine reserves â largely to the detriment of the recreational fisher – based entirely on what we consider to be unsubstantiated scientific evidence.
âThere is no argument that it is extremely important that we preserve the marine environment for future generations, but we also need to get it right. âShould we be concerned that the marine biologists and scientists collating this data – in a blatant conflict of interest – are the very same academics pushing for no-take marine reserves? Outdoor Recreation NZ certainly is.â