EDF Hosts New Zealand Marine Reserve Expert's Discussion Tour

New Zealand Experience Offers Lessons For West Coast Fisheries

November 26, 1997
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(26 November, 1997?Oakland, CA) The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and local co-hosts will sponsor a series of open discussions on New Zealand?s experience with marine reserves and their potential for the Pacific Coast. Renowned marine scientist Dr. Bill Ballantine, University of Aukland, New Zealand will tour coastal communities in Oregon and California from December 1 to December 20, 1997.

"New Zealand has created 14 marine reserves since 1981," said Dr. Rod Fujita, EDF marine ecologist. According to Dr. Ballantine, New Zealand?s experience suggests that a comprehensive network of marine reserves could protect marine biodiversity and also increase yields of commercially important fish stocks. EDF is sponsoring Dr. Ballantine?s tour because we believe that his story of New Zealand?s experience with marine reserves will stimulate constructive dialogue about whether marine reserves could help west coast fisheries that are in decline right now."

Nine of the fifteen most valuable groundfish stocks off the west coast are in trouble, including sablefish and several kinds of rockfish. California's once-rich abalone fishery has been closed due to depletion and disease. Marine reserves or closed areas are attracting increasing attention from scientists, fishermen and fishery managers as a way to provide insurance against management failures that result from over-reliance on the inadequate data and insufficient understanding typical of many fishery management regimes. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council is currently considering whether to establish marine reserves to rebuild depleted groundfish stocks and increase yields in the future.

"Coastal communities should choose where these reserves or conservation pockets are located," said Dr. Ballantine." Marine protected areas can be powerful learning tools as well as providing safe harbor for many species of marine life." Ballantine advocates creating a network of protected areas, conserving pockets of marine space containing examples of every habitat type found in an undersea region. Citing New Zealand?s experience, Ballantine says these reserve networks are an effective strategy for maintaining fish stocks and increasing our understanding of the marine environment.

The tour schedule follows: Mon., Dec. 1?Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR?4:00p.m; Tuesday, Dec. 2?Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, OR?12:00-1:30p.m; Wednesday, Dec. 3?UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, CA?12:00-1:15p.m; Wednesday, Dec. 3?Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, San Francisco, CA?3:30p.m; Thursday, Dec. 4?Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA?6:00-9:00p.m; Monday, Dec. 8?National Marine Fisheries Service Tiburon Lab, Tiburon, CA?2:30p.m; Tuesday, Dec. 9?Patagonia Store, Santa Cruz, CA?6:45p.m; Wednesday, Dec. 10?California Department of Fish & Game, Monterey, CA?12:00p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11?Oxnard College Auditorium, Oxnard, CA?2:00-4:00p.m; Thursday, Dec. 11?Patagonia Store, Santa Barbara, CA?7:00-9:00p.m; Tuesday, Dec. 16?Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro, CA?1:00-4:00p.m; Wednesday, Dec. 17?Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA?12:15p.m.

Local co-sponsors include: Dept. of Zoology, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR); Robert Bailey, Oregon Ocean Program Administrator (Portland, OR); Hatfield Marine Science Center (Newport, OR); Paul Engelmeyer, National Audubon Society (Yachats, OR); Energy Resources Group, UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA); Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary/Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (San Francisco, CA); Natural Resources Defense Council (San Francisco, CA); Center for Marine Conservation (San Francisco, CA); National Marine Fisheries Service (Tiburon, CA), Patagonia (Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, CA), Save our Shores (Santa Cruz, CA); California Department of Fish & Game (Monterey, CA); Channel Islands Marine Resource Restoration Committee (Oxnard, CA); Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Santa Barbara, CA); Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (San Pedro, CA); California Department of Fish & Game (Long Beach, CA); Channel Islands National Park Service (Ventura, CA); American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists; Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, CA).