Ecosystem Management Principles: Inside and Outside New Zealand's 12 nautical mile limit.

Barry Weeber

The 12 mile nautical limit provides an artificial barrier to ecosystem management in the marine ecosystem surrounding New Zealand. Different legislation with different objectives managing different parts of the marine environment applies inside and outside the 12 nautical mile limit.

Within 12 miles the Resource Management Act 1991 applies sustainable management principles with public processes and a system of management plans and policy. The RMA does not cover fisheries management, apart from marine farming, which is covered by the 1983 and 1996 Fisheries Acts.

Outside of 12 miles the Fisheries Act applies including a range of different statutes apply. For example the Maritime Transport Act deals with pollution and dumping and the Continental Shelf Act/Crown Minerals Act deals with petroleum and seabed mining. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is explicitly incorporated into New Zealand law in an integrated manner.

New Zealand needs to develop an integrated management regime which has similar objectives and public processes on either side of the 12 mile limit.

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