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Sea and Ocean Policy Summary

Gareth Hughes MP
Gareth Hughes MP
gareth [dot] hughes [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
Read the full Sea and Oceans Policy

We can protect our children's birth right to swim, fish and collect kaimoana in our waters.

We can adopt a precautionary approach to marine activities, charging those that use resources commercially and prohibiting them from degrading those resources and so ensure greater protection for marine species and the oceanic commons.

To maintain the viability of our fisheries for the future, the Green Party would move to an integrated fisheries management system, ban damaging fishing methods and expand marine reserves.

We would also work towards healthy oceans by eliminating or reducing pollution sources.

Key Principles

  • The sea's ecosystems must be protected from pollution, alien species, over-utilisation.
  • Marine ecosystems are complex; we need a precautionary approach to marine activities.
  • Mana whenua and the public must be involved in making decisions about the sea.
  • Those using the sea commercially should not degrade it, and should pay to use it.

Specific Policy Points

Oceans Strategy

The proposed Oceans Strategy, which would integrate all uses of the sea, should:

  • Maintain the integrity, functioning and biodiversity of marine ecosystems.
  • Ensure consistent processes and goals of all marine activities under the RMA.
  • Ensure consistency of our obligations under international marine agreements.

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Management

  • Integrated marine ecosystem management (rather than single species management).
  • Propose a return to resource rentals.
  • More vigorously control long lining.
  • Observers on all significant vessels.
  • Environmental impact assessment and best practice for fishing methods.
  • Set national standards under the RMA to guide regional councils on marine farms.

Minerals Extraction and Industrial Activities

  • Strengthen environmental management framework for Exclusive Economic Zone.
  • Ensure those involved in industrial activities pay to clean up any pollution they cause.
  • Support resource rentals on minerals, oil and gas extraction (see Economics Policy).

Marine Conservation

  • Pass Marine Reserves Bill and create a network of protection areas.
  • Set near zero limits for threatened by-catch species in all fisheries.
  • No seabed mining in significant habitats, eg Maui dolphin.
  • Support an international moratorium on bottom trawling.
  • Step up marine biosecurity efforts.
  • Oppose all commercial and so-called 'scientific' whaling.

Research and Education

  • A major increase in research into marine ecosystems, environmental effects of fishing.
  • Develop urgently needed biosecurity risk assessment and control protocols.

Marine Pollution

  • Require oil tankers to be double-hulled.
  • Passage restrictions to protect sensitive areas.
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