17 November 2021: Read the NZCA's advice to the Minister on Marine Conservation and the need for a national approach to the biodiversity health of our oceans.

To: Hon Kiritapu Allan, Minster of Conservation 
Date: 17 November 2021

At its meeting on 15 October, the Authority discussed the ongoing lack of action and urgency regarding marine conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand, and agreed that this matter requires elevation to its Risk Register, and, therefore, advice to you about our concerns.

The Authority have sought to capitalise on the skills and experience of Dr Wendy Nelson since her appointment to the Authority in August 2020. A marine committee was established at the time of Wendy’s appointment to investigate the Department’s approach to its responsibilities in marine conservation, and to gain understanding of environmental action in marine more generally. 

At the time, the Authority understood the combining of Oceans and Fisheries into a new portfolio as a cutting-edge opportunity; whilst marine health is of the upmost importance for the fishing industry, the economic drive of fisheries places prioritisation in this space in a precarious position. The Authority’s concerns increased as signals of a dispassionate Minister of Oceans and Fisheries came to the fore.

Although, we have been pleased to hear of the establishment of a new cross-agency Oceans Secretariat, the Authority have not been adequately engaged by the Department on such matters. In order to fulfil its advisory function, the Authority require further clarity of Government priorities in this space.

The Authority are committed to keeping a watching brief on the issue and will seek any and all opportunity to advise and influence Aotearoa New Zealand’s national approach to the biodiversity health of its oceans.


Nō reira

E noho ora mai


Edward Ellison ONZM
Chairperson NZCA

Dr Wendy Nelson
Deputy Chairperson NZCA
Chair NZCA Marine Committee

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