Resources and information

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) - working definition

EBM means different things to people so we have identified some working principles for EBM in New Zealand – these are a start point for discussion, to be adapted as we co-develop EBM with Māori and stakeholders.


Research book

With around 150 researchers from 26 organisations, working on 30 projects, we have a lot going on. Our Research Book gives a plain English summary of each project.



Hui-te-ana-nui - Understanding kaitiakitanga in our marine environment



Tiakiwai S-J, Kilgour JT, Whetu A, 2017. Indigenous perspectives of ecosystem-based management and co-governance in the Pacific Northwest: lessons for Aotearoa. AlterNative 13(2): 69–79

Baines J, Edwards P, 2018. The role of relationships in achieving and maintaining a social licence in the New Zealand aquaculture sector. Aquaculture 485:140–146  *Free online access until 17 Jan 2018*


Conference 2017

Presentations from the inaugural 2-day conference are available to download.


Key performance indicators (2014-2019)

There are 7 performance areas, with a number of indicators and measures for each.


Research and business plan

This plan provides a comprehensive description of the development, delivery and science and society aims of the Challenge. 


Review process

Research proposals submitted to the Challenge for any type of funding or grant go through a rigorous review process.


Innovation Fund projects

The aim of this fund is to introduce innovative products, approaches, capability, research and researchers to the Sustainable Seas Challenge. These proposals were funded in the first call in 2016, with each fitting within one of our six research themes. To read the detailed project proposals, follow the links below.

Our Seas

  • Participatory processes for marine ecosystem restoration
  • Navigating the implementation impasse: enabling interagency collaboration on cumulative effects

Valuable Seas

  • A feasibility study of coastal acidification mitigation strategies for the mussel industry
  • The re-use of offshore infrastructure and platforms: assessing the value to communities, industry and the environment
  • Near real-time forecasting using operational oceanographic forecasting of contamination risk to reduce commercial shellfish harvest and beach closures
  • Huataukīna Tō Iwi E: Developing marine bioactives economic opportunities from Tairāwhiti kīna to combat diabetes, heart disease and inflammation
  • Innovative technologies for the early detection of harmful algal bloom (HAB) threats
  • Energy from tidal currents - kick-starting a new marine industry with huge potential

Dynamic Seas

  • Submarine canyons: how important are they for connecting coastal and deep-sea ecosystems?
  • Sediment tolerance and mortality thresholds of offshore benthos
  • Quantifying marine biodiversity using environmental DNA
  • Estimating historic effects from sedimentation and fishing, Nelson Bays
  • Overnight tipping points from a cataclysmic event: impacts, recovery and constraints on rocky reef ecosystems

Managed Seas

  • Can we define marine habitat use by seabirds without costly at-sea observational data?


Key papers

Research papers and documents that support ecosystem-based management.

Latest news and updates

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

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.

Sun, sea, sand – and marine science

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.

Tipping Points on Radio NZ

Tune in to tonight’s episode of Our Changing World (after the 9pm news) for an excellent in-depth piece that gets into the detail of what the Tipping Points project is investigating, and why.