RM Journal

The Motiti decision: implications for coastal management

The recent Court of Appeal decision (Attorney General v The Trustees of the Motiti Rohe Moana Trust and others [2019] NZCA 532), has wide-ranging implications for managing the sustained pressures on biodiversity in coastal ecosystems. 

The “Motiti” decision signals a profound change in the way in which regional councils will need to manage the territorial sea.  In this article, I explore some of the implications of the decision for environmental management, in light of the recent public notice of decisions on the Marlborough Environment Plan by the Marlborough District Council on 21 February 2020. 

This is relevant given the biodiversity crisis unfolding in our marine environment, as reported in Environment Aotearoa 2019. For example, scientists have shown that intact biodiverse biogenic (or “living”) habitats are massively reduced in areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone, including the territorial sea, following extensive contact of the seabed by heavy fishing gear.   

Dr Steve Urlich, Lecturer in Environmental Management, Lincoln University.

Read “The Motiti decision: implications for coastal management”