New Report Gives Stark Warning on State of NZ’s Oceans
Produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, the document is the latest in the NZ Environmental Reporting Series.
WWF-New Zealand Head of Campaigns, Peter Hardstaff, said the report painted a worrying picture of the state of New Zealand’s oceans.
“This report gives a stark warning and should serve as a wake-up call on the need for action to ensure ecosystems are not further degraded and species are not driven further towards extinction,” Mr Hardstaff said.
The report highlights the key threats to our ocean life: climate change, including ocean acidification; impacts from fishing, including habitat destruction and by-catch of endemic species of sea birds and marine mammals; and pollution from the land.
- 90% of our native seabirds and shore birds are threatened with or at risk of extinction.
- More than a quarter of our native marine mammals are threatened with extinction.
- There has been a statistically significant increase in ocean acidification (similar to global increases).
- 17% of New Zealand fish stocks (for which there is adequate information to assess the stock) were overfished in 2015.
“New Zealand’s oceans and the diverse wildlife within them are truly special, so we need to do everything that we can to ensure they have a future,” Mr Hardstaff said. “While there are no silver bullets for solving the problems facing our oceans, an essential part of good management is to create a network of marine protected areas.”
“Many of the solutions are well within our grasp – like the fishers in the Hauraki Gulf working hard to reduce by-catch of the endangered Black Petrel.
“We also need to see concerted action from the government, including reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and removing threats to our critically endangered Māui dolphins, while helping fishers transition to dolphin-friendly fishing methods.”