The Challenge

Golden Bay

The objective of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is to enhance utilisation of our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints. 

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 (MBIE) undertook a mid-way review of all National Science challenges in July/August 2018. You can download a copy of the Sustainable Seas report of the Review Panel below.  

 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.  

The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation has announced the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge will receive $39.8 million for the second five-year phase of the Challenge.  Funding will start on 1 July 2019.

MBIE media release

Phase II Research - timetable  

 

Latest news and updates

Seeking Deputy Director Māori

We are seeking a Deputy Director Māori for Ko Ngā Moana Whakauka - Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to an innovative National Science Challenge.

LEARNZ Sustainable Seas Virtual Field Trip for school students

Last week (4-8 March) the Sustainable Seas team were in Nelson on a LEARNZ virtual field trip.  Sustainable Seas researchers talked to students from over 100 schools around New Zealand about ecosystem-based management, kaitiakitanga of the marine environment, ecosystem services and tracking plastics in our oceans.  

 

Call for expressions of interest: Theme Leader

Expressions of Interest are invited to join our exceptional team as a Theme Leader for the Enhancing Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) practices Theme.

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