RM Journal

RMJarticle_June09

A national issue of international significance: Seabed disturbance in our marine waters

Dr Steve Urlich, Coastal Scientist, Marlborough District Council, lifts the lid on New Zealand’s largest-scale environment issue: the impact of bottom trawling on seabed habitats. Marine ecosystems have not been well served by the lack of clarity in the regulatory functions of central and local government over the 25 years that the RMA has been in force.

In his article Dr Urlich provides context by describing the fundamental ecological importance of intact seabed habitats for the diversity and abundance of marine species, and the provision of ecosystem services. He then outlines the effects of seabed disturbance on different types of habitats, and the scale of bottom trawling throughout our marine waters, and then examines the management of this issue in the Marlborough context, in light of the statutory powers that regional and unitary authorities appear to have under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

To view and download the full article please click here.