• Summary

Managing cumulative effects in the marine environment

This is a research round-up of our tools, resources and research related to managing cumulative effects in the marine environment (May 2023)


The health of Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine ecosystems continues to decline due to multiple stressors contributing to cumulative (and sometimes abrupt and non-linear) environmental change. Reversing this decline requires the ability to manage the cumulative effects (CE) of multiple stressors that impact on our marine waters and habitats. The challenge of managing CE is one of the most urgent and complex problems facing the world’s coasts and oceans (Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ 2019).

A growing body of research and reviews highlights that the cumulative effects of fishing, land-based activities, pollution, and climate change are key threats to ocean health. To better understand CE to support decision-making and reverse current trends, Sustainable Seas has made CE a core component of its research.

This research round-up is a synthesis of current Sustainable Seas knowledge geared toward improving how we manage for CE in the marine environment.

This document:

  • defines CE in the marine environment
  • describes the challenges faced in managing CE
  • summarises knowledge that can aid CE management
  • highlights research aimed at further improving our ability to manage CE
  • Managing cumulative effects in the marine environment

    2.2 MB | Adobe Acrobat PDF file