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On Monday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, said that Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary northeast of New Zealand is all set to become one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries. Mining and fishing will be prohibited in the area about the size of France.
The sanctuary is famous for its dolphins, whales and turtles that come under endangered marine life. The announcement by Key has stunned the seafood export industry of New Zealand, which is worth NZ$1.4 billion a year.
George Clement, chairman of industry body Seafood New Zealand, said the announcement by the Prime Minister was surprising. There was no forewarning for the industry. It seems government doesn’t know that the industry need some time to think about full implications, Clement added.
Now the country’s seafood export industry will not be allowed to catch tuna as the ban would also apply to the fish. According to 2013 data, the fish is among the largest seafood export. All kinds of mining exploration activities will be banned in the area.
Nautilus Minerals, a Canadian underwater mineral exploration company, has been looking for permit to work in the Kermadec area. Nautilus is among those companies that are looking forward to get permit to mine the ocean floor. The new sanctuary legislation will affect these companies badly.
The announcement on Kermadec sanctuary by Key comes after New Zealand and Australia decided to start efforts to establish largest marine sanctuary in the world.
"As well as being home to a wide range of marine species, the Kermadec region is one of the most geographically and geologically diverse areas in the word," Key said.
"With no forewarning from government, the industry needs time to consider the full implications," said George Clement, chairman of industry body Seafood New Zealand.