An exhausting battle spanning nearly 20 years for a new marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour is nearly at an end.
The Akaroa Marine Protection Society, a group of about 20 determined locals headed by husband and wife team Brian and Kathleen Reid, has been fighting for a 530-hectare marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour since 1996.
The reserve, near Dan Rogers Bluff, would protect about 12 per cent of the harbour from fishing.
This afternoon, Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced his approval of the reserve.
Major nations failed to reach agreement on Thursday to set up huge marine protected areas off Antarctica under a plan to step up conservation of creatures such as whales and penguins around the frozen continent.
The 25-member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) agreed, however, to hold a special session in Germany in July 2013 to try to break the deadlock after the October 8-November 1 meeting in Hobart, Australia.
Recently, thousands of Project AWARE divers called for new marine reserves in Australia. The Australian Government heard our voice and in June, announced a major new network of marine reserves including the world's second largest marine national park.
This was a major victory for the ocean and its wildlife, and showed the collective power of AWARE divers worldwide.