Restorative marine economies

Encouraging restorative economies in Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine spaces

Project Leader Duration Budget
Drew Lohrer (NIWA) & Nigel Bradly (EnviroStrat) January 2021 – September 2022 $900,000


Healthy marine ecosystems require a marine economy that is committed to ecologically sustainable practices – and long-term economic use of marine resources depends on healthy marine ecosystems.

We are investigating how to build restorative economies in Aotearoa New Zealand’s coastal and marine spaces. 

‘Restorative economies' combine business activities and environmental restoration. They aim to foster new investments and business enterprises that reverse environmental degradation – instead of ignoring degradation or contributing to it.

Restorative economies actively seek to enhance the biodiversity and health of degraded ecosystems, going beyond the traditional economic concept of operating within environmental and biological constraints. 

There is growing interest in restorative marine economy practices from: 

  • Iwi, communities and individuals interested in restoring their local environment
  • Businesses aiming to reduce their environmental impact and increase their resilience through activity diversification
  • The sustainable finance sector and councils interested in using environmental credits to spur sustainability solutions and generate benefits in their communities

However, moving towards restorative marine economies require investment, new science and technology, altered practices and regulations, and new measures of performance.

This project will develop knowledge, frameworks and decision-support tools to enable restorative marine economies to emerge. In addition to developing investment propositions, we will develop proof-of-concepts using place-based research, and build the relationships and roadmaps required for the future of the sector.

Research Team

Drew Lohrer (NIWA)
Nigel Bradly (EnviroStrat)
Richard Bulmer (NIWA)
Fabrice Stephenson (NIWA)
Emily Douglas (NIWA)
Cerasela Stancu (EnviroStrat)
Sandra Cortes Acosta (EnviroStrat)
John Reid (University of Canterbury)
Jason Mika (Massey University)
Ann Smith (EnviroStrat Associate, ex CEO Toitū Envirocare)
Izzy Brown (EnviroStrat)
Tahlia Bridger (EnviroStrat)
Nick Lewis (University of Auckland)
Jenny Hillman (University of Auckland)

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This is a national project.