The objective of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is to enhance the value of New Zealand's marine resources, while providing a healthy marine environment for future generations.
What New Zealand has
New Zealand’s marine estate is 20 times larger than our land mass, and we have the 4th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. New Zealand’s marine resources include fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil and gas, minerals, renewable energy, shipping and more.
The sea is also an important part of the New Zealand lifestyle and culture – for food, recreation and spiritual well being. 75% of New Zealanders live within 10 km of the coast, and Māori connections with the sea are particularly strong.
There is a growing conflict between New Zealand’s many uses of the marine environment, including its important marine economy and protection of the marine environment.
What New Zealand could have
There needs to be a new way of managing New Zealand’s marine resources that considers multiple uses, values and sources of knowledge, and combines the needs of Māori, wider communities, and industry, with new evidence from scientific research.
We need a tool that enhances use of marine resources, but ensures that our seas are understood, cared for, and used wisely.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) can be this tool. It recognises interactions within ecosystems and with humans, and balances the use and conservation of resources. It is a holistic and inclusive way to manage the competing uses for, demands on, and ways New Zealanders value our marine environment.
The challenge is to:
- Engage with New Zealanders to understand the cultural, spiritual, economic and environmental values of our marine environment
- Investigate and describe the impacts of natural and human stresses on marine ecosystems
- Overcome impediments to enhanced resource use
- Uphold commitment towards Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the sharing of information, resources and opportunities, as well as learning, action and shared decision-making
Our strategy 2019-2024
The Challenge was established in 2014. Funding for all National Science Challenges was allocated for ten years in two five-year periods. Phase 1 will be completed on 30 June 2019. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will undertake a mid-way review of all National Science challenges in July/August 2018 and make a decision about future funding in November 2018. As part of the mid-way review process we submitted our strategy for 2019-24. The strategy describes the areas that will be covered by the phase 2 research programme explains how governance and funding works.
Latest news and updates
Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.
We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.
During Seaweek, more than 4,600 school pupils joined 6 Sustainable Seas researchers for 3 days of marine science fieldwork in Tasman Bay, as part of the LEARNZ virtual field trip Sustainable seas – essential for New Zealand’s health and wealth.