Credit: Ellery Sterling Unsplash

Posted on 17 July 2023

Policy leadership needed for the future of Aotearoa’s marine environment

If Aotearoa’s marine laws are to effectively manage marine environments and resources, they must manage the ecosystem in a holistic and inclusive way that stops the degradation of our oceans and restores the health of the moana and our people.

New research from Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge reveals critical, time-sensitive opportunities in four policy areas across marine conservation, coastal planning and environmental effects assessment, fisheries regulation, and Māori rights and interests.

With significant changes to law and policy already underway in these areas, there is an opportunity for ecosystem-based management (EBM) principles to be adopted to better coordinate implementation of various policy impacting the marine environment in Aotearoa. EBM is a holistic and inclusive way to manage competing uses, and demands on, marine environments in a way that maintains or improves ecosystem health.

To achieve this, the research highlights the need for fundamental marine principles to be developed in partnership with Māori and for Aotearoa to create a Ministry for the Ocean to drive this transition.

“We join the call for a Ministry for the Ocean to match the Ministerial portfolio for the ocean, reflecting the complexity of marine management and departing from the terrestrial bias of our existing laws and institutions. A dedicated Ministry would ensure a coherent, whole-of-government approach to leadership, oversight, coordination, and alignment of marine policy consistent with the Tiriti partnership.”

Aligning law and policy across sectors and scales will be especially important as the New Zealand government moves toward releasing its long-awaited climate adaptation legislation.

Read the full research here.


Media contact

Kylie Bailey
+ 64 (0) 278 082 383

More Posts

Related projects & activities

Policy and legislation for EBM
Credit: Hamish McCormick
Policy and legislation for EBM

We are developing a research base for policy makers, Māori and stakeholders to navigate the legislative, policy and practice constraints sur…