Biodiversity Funding - Managing our oceans
Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Fisheries
8 June 2000
The Government is committing $2.5 million over the next three years to develop an integrated oceans management strategy for New Zealand, Minister of Fisheries Pete Hodgson said today.
The funding will cover policy advice and consultation with the public and a wide range of groups with interests in New Zealand's oceans. They include Maori, the seafood industry, recreationists,environmental groups, local government and the mining, tourism, transport, communications and defence sectors. The major consultation effort will come in 2001-2002.
"This work addresses the lack of integrated policy governing our oceans," Mr Hodgson said. "We have extensive policies in this country for managing our land, but not for our oceans. Nor do we have any integration between land and marine management. That makes no sense when our Exclusive Economic Zone is about 15 times the size of our land mass, and is the fourth largest in the world.
"There is no over-arching policy framework guiding the decisions the Government and others must make when different interests in the oceans conflict. As a result, many of those decisions are ad hoc, contradictory and inefficient."
Mr Hodgson said the development of an oceans strategy would help address the concerns about marine ecosystems management raised in January in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report Setting Course for a Sustainable Future. One of the commissioner's recommendations was to develop a strategy for sustainable management of New Zealand's marine environment.
"An oceans strategy will also help us identify and address inadequacies in our knowledge of ocean ecosystems and the impacts of various activities and events on the marine environment. It well help us to work out what we don't know and what we need to know.
"New Zealand's oceans are extensive and valuable. Developing a comprehensive oceans strategy offers us a chance to build a consensus on oceans management. It will also increase the efficiency and order of decision-making."