Navigating marine social-ecological systems

Mother holds child on beach, ship in background

Our aim is to identify and/or improve our understanding of institutional, social and cultural factors that need to be incorporated into ecosystem-based management for it to be successfully used to manage Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine resources.

Project leader: Karen Fisher, University of Auckland

Duration: April 2016 – September 2019 
Budget: $920,000 
Status: Ongoing 

Our research is using social science to examine key issues in the marine environment. We are engaging with Māori, industry representatives, resource managers, decision makers, environmental organisations and communities.  

We are considering how knowledge about cumulative effects – environmental effects resulting from multiple activities over time – can improve decision-making for the marine environment. In 2016, we hosted a workshop with 40 scientists and senior policymakers from across New Zealand. It supported cross-institutional and cross-cultural dialogue to address issues raised by cumulative effects. 

We are using sci-art and creative works to engage New Zealanders about EBM and the risks to the marine environment from human activities. We held sci-art workshops with 1600 students at 16 schools in Nelson and Marlborough. The resulting combined artwork created by the students, The Unseen, was exhibited at Albion Square, Nelson. We have also produced short films and other creative outputs to engage with the public. 

Another focus of our research, is to understand how trust among researchers can enhance the quality of knowledge needed for EBM. We are using focus groups and interviews to consider how trust is developed and maintained between Challenge researchers and experts who have diverse interests and experiences. We are also exploring the Challenge’s capacity to build trust with Māori and stakeholders.  

Journal articles

 

The Unseen: this art-science-education research is working with communities and school children to explore the risks associated with environmental and climate change, and how this might affect the way we manage New Zealand’s marine ecosystems.

Latest news and updates

Where's our research happening?

We’ve developed an interactive map that shows the locations and key information of all our research projects. The aim is to help connect people with the research happening in their community.

Media statement: Today's marine environment report from MfE and StatsNZ

Julie Hall, Director: "It is deeply concerning that the state of our marine environment has not improved in the last three years. Resilient coasts and oceans are essential to New Zealanders' health and wealth, so urgent action is needed to address the decline. There is a growing need for ecosystem-based management (EBM) to holistically manage risk and sustain Aotearoa's coasts and oceans. This is even more important given the ongoing impacts of climate change."

Job opportunity: Communications advisor

Do you have science communication skills and at least 2 years experience? Do you care about Aotearoa's oceans and how people use/value our seas? Then we've got a job for you.