New Zealand has 15,000 km of coastline and is responsible for marine waters that extend 200 nautical miles beyond its shores. These resources represent enormous social, economic and spiritual value to the people of New Zealand. We use our marine environment for a variety of recreational activities from swimming and diving to fishing and boating. A number of industries also rely on the quality of our marine environment for local and export trade.
Despite the extent and value of this resource, very little is known about the marine environment internationally. In the absence of adequate scientific knowledge and appropriate policies to ensure its sustainable use and development, marine ecosystems are at risk of exploitation from human activities.
The Ministry is working with other government agencies to develop specific strategies, policies and actions that will ensure the quality and diversity of our marine environment are maintained. Programmes the Ministry is involved with include: