Mātaitai reserve to manage Paterson Inlet sustainably
8 June, 2004
A mātaitai reserve will be created to promote fisheries sustainability in Stewart Island's Paterson Inlet, Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.
Mātaitai reserves recognise and provide for customary food gathering by Maori in areas that are special to tangata whenua.
The mätaitai, New Zealand's third, will be known as Te Whaka a Te Wera Mätaitai Reserve.
Paterson Inlet is a nearly enclosed body of water, around 10,000 hectares in size, that opens onto south-eastern Foveaux Strait. The mätaitai reserve covers most of the Inlet. Areas excluded from the mātaitai reserve are Big Glory Bay, which is used for aquaculture, and areas around Ulva Island, which will become marine reserve.
Paterson Inlet has long been prized for its fisheries by tangata whenua, the Stewart Island community, and recreational fishers from further afield. The high water quality and range of habitats support important fisheries such as blue cod, paua, scallops, rock lobster, and kina.
"The Stewart Island community is very supportive of the new mātaitai reserve," said Mr Benson-Pope. "This reflects a history of community involvement managing Paterson Inlet's fisheries resources.
"This will continue with the mātaitai reserve, which has as its objective ensuring the sustainability of the fisheries."
There is no commercial fishing in the Inlet. Tangata tiaki (guardians) of the mātaitai reserve intend to manage its non-commercial fisheries sustainably with the input and participation of local user groups. Both tikanga Mäori and modern resource management techniques will be used in a complementary way.
The tangata tiaki can recommend that the Minister of Fisheries make by-laws for the mātaitai reserve. Any such by-laws cannot discriminate on the basis of race and apply, generally, to all persons.
A management committee, representing tāngata whenua and local residents, will develop a comprehensive management plan for the mätaitai reserve's fisheries.
Also today, the Minister of Conservation is announcing the creation of a marine reserve contained within the mätaitai reserve.
"While the processes for creating the marine reserve and the mātaitai reserve have been entirely separate, the two reserves will complement each other well, and enhance both fisheries and biodiversity in Paterson Inlet," said Mr Benson-Pope.
Contact: Pete Coleman (Press Secretary) (04) 471- 9685 or 021-811-003