Oceans policy needed to protect $7 billion environment – Law Professor
You might think as a nation New Zealand would actively protect an environment that contributed over $7 billion to the economy, but University of Canterbury (UC) Law Professor Karen Scott says we aren’t doing enough to protect New Zealand’s maritime zone – something that could be addressed, in part, with an oceans policy.
UC Law Professor Karen Scott is interested in research including international environmental law, public international law, law of the sea, water law and Antarctica.
New Zealand started the process of developing an oceans policy 20 years ago, but abandoned it primarily owing to disagreements between Māori and the Crown over the foreshore and seabed.
In 2012, legislation for New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone – which is a 200-nautical-mile maritime zone extending from New Zealand’s baselines – addressed some gaps in oceans governance but it is not designed to function as an oceans policy.
An expert in the law of the sea, Professor Scott, funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation, is researching the question of whether Aotearoa New Zealand needs an Oceans Policy and whether it would improve oceans governance and environmental outcomes for New Zealand?
“An Oceans Policy would provide overarching goals, a set of principles and values which can provide the framework that legislation, initiatives and organisations can work from in order to manage ocean resources and protect the ocean environment,” Professor Scott says.