Big science and big issues featured in the first Marlborough Marine Futures Forum. Two further Forum's in this format will be held this year.
DAVIDSON ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING REPORT
Steve Urlich of the Marlborough District Council presented key findings from Rob Davidson's report that found alarming decline in significant marine sites around the Sounds. Most at risk were near shore areas vulnerable to sedimentation and "biogenic" living structures such as horse mussel beds and "corals" vulnerable to being smashed by dredging and anchors.
Alistair Dunne and Ian Tuck of NIWA set out what is offered by the Atlantis model they have developed for Tasman and Golden Bays.
Participants were very interested in the opportunities posed by such a comprehensive framework. The model links together the physical dynamics of the sea, biological processes and multi species interactions and the role of people in the environment.
The base model has been built and is ready for real world data to be entered to calibrate it. Any useful extension to the east of D'Urville Island is three or more years away.
ISSUES FACING THE MARLBOROUGH MARINE ENVIRONMENT
Forum participants worked in groups to identify the full suite of issues facing the Marlborough marine environment. These will be analyzed by the Trustees and a framework developed to establish how to get to grips with creating solutions.
The practical issues of most concern to people were:
- The effects of land use on the sea, particularly those that accelerated the flow of sediment into marine environments.
- The role of forestry in creating land use impacts and how to maximize its value while limiting its impacts.
- How to stop and reverse the destruction on biological communities on the sea floor.
- How to get integrated multi-species fisheries management.
- Marine biosecurity risks.
- Managing population pressures on a finite resource.
People also raised issues around process and information. These included:
- How to get the "powers that be" into action while sustaining local leadership.How to get everyone aligned to a common vision.
- The need for reliable comprehensive information on what is going on in the environment and how various uses impact it.
- How to get to solutions that attend to all the needs.
The Trustees will develop ideas on how to proceed and bring them back to the next Forum in late September.