Credit: Ellery Sterling Unsplash

Posted on 14 October 2022

Media statement: Report reveals continuing pressure on our marine environment

The Our marine environment report 2022, released this week by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, says while there are efforts underway to protect and restore the marine environment, it continues to be affected by a range of individual and cumulative pressures.

These include climate change, and the detrimental affects our activities on land can have through excess sediment, nutrient, and plastic pollution.

Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge Director Julie Hall says it is deeply concerning that the state of our marine environment has not improved since the last report in 2019.

“Resilient coasts and oceans are essential to New Zealanders' health and wealth, so urgent action is needed to address the decline. There is a growing need for ecosystem-based management (EBM) to holistically manage risk and sustain Aotearoa's coasts and oceans.

“This is even more important now we are seeing the ongoing impacts of climate change.

"Our research directly addresses issues identified in the report particularly around sedimentation and nutrient pollution, and the cumulative effects (CE) of multiple stressors on the moana.

“A consistent, holistic, ki uta ki tai (mountains to deep sea) strategy is the only feasible way to tackle CE; which is why we are collaborating with central government agencies, local and regional councils, iwi, and industry.”

We have developed resources to help assess and address the impacts of sedimentation on coastal environments, including guidance on managing the impact of turbidity, nutrients and sea level rise on coasts and estuaries, monitoring estuaries in a changing environment, and reframing environmental limits for estuaries.

Our previous research has also produced the Aotearoa Cumulative Effects (ACE) framework which can guide collaborative CE management across a range of scales.


What is EBM?
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a holistic and inclusive way to manage marine environments and the competing uses for, demands on, and ways New Zealanders value them. We have proposed 7 principles for EBM, co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.

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