Threats from the land
Soil and nutrient run-off from the land can have huge effects on our coastal ecosystems.
Recent research, done by NIWA for the Ministry of Fisheries, shows that with more sediment in the water, fewer baby paua and kina survive. It also shows that sediment affects the tiny animals living on kelp. As these are a major food supply for other rocky reef species, it seems that high sediment levels will reduce the productivity of whole rocky reef ecosystems, and affect catches of important recreational, customary, and commercial species.
Future studies will look at the effects high nutrient levels are having on the marine environment. One of these will be done this year in Southland and will examine the effects of runoff from agriculture and intensive dairy operations on coastal ecosystems.