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Ecosystem Based Management

Threats to Marine Ecosystems
Tipping Points

The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge brings together a group of experts who are working on creating a new way of managing our marine ecosystems called ecosystem-based management (EBM). EBM takes into account all the uses and impacts on all parts of a marine ecosystem.

Our marine areas are not only important for plants and animals, but also for our economy, industries and people.

Marine industries include:

  • removal of resources – such as fish, oil and gas, and minerals
  • tourism
  • aquaculture
  • shipping
  • communications – such as under sea fibre-optic cables
  • recreation. 

The New Zealand government looks after our marine areas and decides who can use marine resources. This can be hard because different people want to use marine areas in different ways. 

Old ways of managing our seas are now in need of a rethink. We can no longer look at just some species, or focus on one issue at a time. We need to look at:

  • all the links within an ecosystem
  • the impacts on the ecosystem
  • the way the ecosystem is used
  • the values the ecosystem has for people.

The Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge brings together a group of different experts from scientists to lawyers.

The aim of this project is to not only improve the value of our marine resources but also to make sure that these resources do not run out. A new way of managing our marine areas will be created, called Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM).

To achieve this, experts are:

  • Finding out more about how marine ecosystems work, how they are interconnected and how people can affect these ecosystems
  • Talking with different iwi, organisations and groups to find out how they use (or want to use) and value New Zealand’s marine areas
  • Create tools to help New Zealand better manage our marine resources for the benefit of all. 

Sustainable Seas will work with Māori, government, councils, industry and communities to create EBM.

Ecosystem-based management will be based on the following:

  1. Group decision making – different organisations and communities are all able to take part in making decisions
  2. Sustainable – marine areas, values and uses are protected for the future
  3. Human activities – all activities from industry to recreation to conservation are taken into account
  4. Flexible – adapts to new knowledge, changing values and events
  5. Knowledge based – is based on the best, most up-to-date knowledge and mātauranga Māori
  6. Tailored – to suit different ecosystems in different areas that are used and valued in different ways

EBM is a work in progress. Sustainable Seas is trialling EBM in the Tasman and Golden Bay area because there are:

  • a variety of marine areas
  • many different and competing uses, activities and interests.

Ready for a quiz?

Ecosystem Based Management activity

Audio Māori keywords: 

What do you think some of the challenges would be in creating ecosystem-based management?

The Sustainable Seas Challenge brings together experts from different backgrounds to work on creating a new way of managing our marine environments. Image: Sustainable Seas Challenge.

Ecosystem-based management takes into account how different people and organisations use and value marine areas. EBM will manage impacts on entire ecosystems rather than just individual species. Image: Sustainable Seas Challenge.

Ecosystem-based management will be tested in the Tasman Bay area. Image: LEARNZ.

The Sustainable Seas Challenge involves research to better understand how our marine ecosystems work. Image: Sustainable Seas Challenge.

Threats to Marine Ecosystems
Tipping Points