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Bill Ballantine

Marine Biologist and Activist (retired)

It's really hard to remind people that all this stuff was there for a million years before people. So, the idea that we are required to manage it is ridiculous. What we need to manage is us.

Bill Ballantine's Biography

A marine biologist and grassroots activist, Bill Ballantine, has been successfully promoting the establishment of "no-take" marine reserves, both in New Zealand and internationally. These unprecedented reserves are widely considered to be a critical means of protecting marine resources that are quickly being depleted around the globe.

Working with the University of Auckland's Marine Laboratory at Leigh, Ballantine recognized the need for marine reserves where habitat and marine life would be left totally undisturbed by people. Ballantine was very active in a six-year fight to enact New Zealand's Marine Reserve Act in 1971. Overcoming significant resistance from parochial interests, he then continued his campaign to create New Zealand's first marine reserve at Leigh Marine Laboratory in 1977. This was also considered one of the first marine "no-take" reserves in the world. No fishing, extractions, construction, or discharges are allowed in such a reserve.

As Ballantine continued to advocate the creation of additional reserves, acceptance of this novel idea gradually grew. Internationally, New Zealand's many reserves are being watched closely and are providing a model for protection of critical marine resources.

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