Enabling ecosystem-based management

Hurunui hāpua a river mouth lagoon on the Canterbury Coast. © Jo Hoyle

Our aim is to improve decision-making in the marine environment and the health of our marine ecosystems through an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach.

Programme leader: Janet Stephenson, University of Otago

This programme is: 

  • investigating whether Aotearoa New Zealand’s laws and governance arrangements for the marine environment are consistent with EBM 
  • reviewing current EBM-like arrangements for managing the marine environment  
  • working with communities to explore how the tools and techniques we develop can underpin initiatives for improving marine ecosystem health 
  • producing narratives about EBM that describe what it means in practice and how it will affect the lives of New Zealanders.   

Aotearoa New Zealand has a complex set of laws and governance arrangements for the marine environment with different purposes and mandates. We are researching how EBM might be implemented under current legislation, and what changes might be needed to implement EBM in the future. We are also learning from the experience of communities, iwi, businesses, NGOs, and local authorities that have worked together to establish innovative marine management regimes.  

Across the Challenge, we are developing tools and approaches to incorporate Māori and stakeholder values, and ecological modelling in marine management. We are exploring how bringing these approaches together can improve decision-making and support the implementation of EBM. Our research findings are being trialled in the Tasman and Golden Bays case study area.  

We are:

  • Improving public and stakeholder understanding of EBM. 
  • Investigating whether changes will be needed to current regulatory frameworks governing marine resources to support EBM. 
  • Demonstrating how tools developed by our research projects can help improve marine ecosystem health. 
  • Empowering interested parties to move towards implementing EBM.  

Projects

Ecosystem-based management within Aotearoa New Zealand’s existing legislative framework 

We are investigating how well ecosystem-based management (EBM) aligns with Aotearoa New Zealand’s legislation, policy and governance relating to the marine environment. 
 

EBM-enabling narratives for New Zealand 

We want to show what ecosystem-based management (EBM) of marine environments in Aotearoa New Zealand looks like now and how it could look in the future. 
 

What could ecosystem-based management look like in Tasman and Golden Bays?

We are investigating how to successfully put ecosystem-based management (EBM) into practice in Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine environment. 

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Latest news and updates

Growing a blue economy on the East Coast

In September, Hikurangi Enterprises hosted a two-day wānanga in Tairāwhiti Gisborne. The wānanga brought together whānau, community and scientists to talk about the opportunities to grow the East Coast blue economy and how kaitiaki can partner with researchers.

Strengthening international research links

Challenge researchers are strengthening links with Canadian research programmes involved in ocean conservation, climate change, and social and economic development of marine environments.

Marlborough students promoting marine protection

In mid-October, Challenge researchers met a pioneering group of students from Marlborough Girls’ College to celebrate their efforts in environmental sustainability and invite them to attend the upcoming Sustainable Seas Annual Conference.

Latest news and updates

Minister announces Phase II funding

The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation has today 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.

Growing a blue economy on the East Coast

In September, Hikurangi Enterprises hosted a two-day wānanga in Tairāwhiti Gisborne. The wānanga brought together whānau, community and scientists to talk about the opportunities to grow the East Coast blue economy and how kaitiaki can partner with researchers.

Strengthening international research links

Challenge researchers are strengthening links with Canadian research programmes involved in ocean conservation, climate change, and social and economic development of marine environments.