Developing ecosystem-based management principles for NZ

Kayaks at Bark Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. Credit: Mark Meredith

The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge leadership team have proposed seven major principles for ecosystem-based management (EBM) in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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. While the term has been used for several decades, a clear definition of how it applies in Aotearea New Zealand is needed.

The EBM principles developed by the team are based on others used worldwide and specifically adapted for Aotearoa New Zealand. The principles recognise the importance of Treaty of Waitangi partnerships, kaitiakitanga, tikanga and mātauranga Māori.

The article, published in the November issue of Resource Management Journal, was written to encourage discussion about the needs for successful EBM. “We want New Zealanders to discuss and refine these proposed principles, so they can be used to support best practice marine management initiatives in the future,” says the article’s lead author Professor Judi Hewitt from NIWA and the University of Auckland.

While New Zealand already has examples of marine management that use some of these principles, including initiatives in Fiordland, Hauraki Gulf, Kaikōura and Kaipara Harbour, the team believe that acknowledging the seven principles at the beginning of a management process will strengthen the role of EBM. 

The Challenge team are encouraging feedback, so check out the article and contact the authors directly or through the Sustainable Seas Challenge website if you want to share your thoughts.   

The Resource Management Journal is published tri-annually and is the lead journal for the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand, which brings together lawyers, barristers, judges, planners, environmental managers, environmental engineers, environment commissioners, consultants and civil servants.

Journal article

Hewitt J, Faulkner L, Greenaway A and Lundquist CA (2018) Resource Management Journal, November, pg 10-13 https://www.rmla.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/RMJ-November-2018_copy.pdf