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 – June 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

Assessing marine ecosystems to improve management

Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge researchers are hoping that marine health data gathered on a recent field trip to Queen Charlotte Sounds will support more integrated management of the ecosystem.

Developing ecosystem-based management principles for NZ

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

Growing a successful and sustainable Māori marine economy

The Sustainable Seas research team led by Dr John Reid and Dr Jason Mika have identified five key factors that will drive growth of the Māori marine economy: