Workshop explores coastal

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Workshop explores coastal

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Morgan Williams (centre) with NIWA’s General Manager Coasts and Freshwater Dr Clive Howard-Williams (left) and Centre Leader for the National Centre for Coasts & Oceans Dr Ian Wright (right).

Nearly 100 participants attended our two-day workshop on ‘Effects of land-based activities on the coastal environment’ in May. The workshop brought together policy makers, industry sector groups, regional and local authorities, iwi authorities, and a wide range of science disciplines to discuss this pressing issue.

Keynote speaker Dr Morgan Williams, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, talked of the tensions between New Zealanders’ desire for a pristine coastal environment and contamination of coastal waters from cities and agricultural run-off. Growing global demand for protein-rich foods, such as aquaculture products, would only increase the need for unpolluted waters, he said.

Other speakers highlighted the need to integrate such environmental issues into a holistic ecosystem view, so that, for example, diverging views and needs of the agricultural and marine farming sectors can be assessed.

The second day comprised a series of technical presentations showing advances in understanding the source and generation of land-based ‘pollutants’, and subsequent transfer and attenuation within the catchment, before ultimate dispersal at the coast.

Recommendations from the workshop were clear:

  • wider recognition that land use affects coastal ecosystems
  • greater recognition of coastal water quality in resource-management decisions
  • ecosystem rather than jurisdictional management
  • development of a coastal environment classification
  • more environmental monitoring in the coastal zone
  • better prediction of the cumulative effect of future land-use scenarios on the coastal environment
  • better communication networks between scientists, resource managers, and community groups.

The workshop presentations are available as PDFs from and a record of the workshop recommendations will be published soon as NIWA Information Series No. 60.

Research subject: Coasts