Our marine environment 2019 examines the most pressing issues for New Zealand's oceans, seas, coastlines and estuaries.
- New Zealand marine species and habitats are under threat. There has been a decline in biodiversity, and habitat condition and extent, as a consequence of human activities. Declining marine health makes New Zealand's coasts and oceans less resilient to disturbances, including climate change.
- Human activities on land are polluting the marine environment, especially agriculture and forestry, and growing cities, increase the amount of sediment, nutrients, chemicals, and plastics that enter our coasts and oceans. Pollution affects our ability to harvest kaimoana, swim, and fish in our favourite local places.
- Human activities at seas are affecting the marine environment. Most of our activities in the marine environment tend to increase in intensity towards the coast. On top of the pressure from coastal development, this results in coastal environments being most impacted. Coastal waters tend to hold the greatest diversity of species.
- Global concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gas are increasing because of activities like burning fossil fuels for heat, transport, and electricity generation. This is causing unprecedented change in our oceans. Warmer seas affect the growth of even the smallest things in the ocean like plankton which can impact the whole food web. Some temperature-related changes in individual species and fish communities have been observed.