10 'Asks' for the Ocean

underwater shot of swimming turtle and fish
© Jurgen Freund/ WWF
Advocacy Update

Aotearoa New Zealand’s ocean territory spans 4.2 million square kilometres and 30 degrees of latitude. It is 15 times larger than our land mass, and it sustains some of our most threatened native species. Our economy relies on the ocean, with $7.4 billion directly related to sectors active in our marine environment.

As we head towards the general election, we want to know where our political parties stand on delivering the following 10 ‘Asks’ – a series of critical and necessary steps to ensure a thriving and resilient marine environment – within the next parliamentary term.

Working with tangata whenua and communities, will you:

  1. Commit to protecting at least 30% of New Zealand’s ocean territory by 2030 through a representative network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – and to delivering the legislative reform and implementation funding needed to achieve this.
  2. Ensure that Aotearoa’s marine management regime upholds the rights of tangata whenua and recognises indigenous approaches to ocean conservation.
  3. Commit to restoring our declining marine biodiversity by implementing an effective ecosystem-based management system, which also provides for the effective control of invasive species like caulerpa.
  4. Ensure the protection of ecologically significant or particularly vulnerable marine habitats, including through the creation of a Kermadec / Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary and new MPAs in the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana.
  5. Reform the Quota Management System to require our fisheries stocks to be managed for abundance and resilience, and to safeguard them for future generations.
  6. Ban bottom-impact fishing methods and seabed mining on vulnerable and highly biodiverse marine ecosystems, including seamounts and similar features.
  7. Improve protection for our endangered, threatened, and protected marine species – including by mandating the use of best practice mitigation technology to reduce fisheries bycatch to a target of zero by 2030.
  8. Implement fully transparent and traceable fisheries management through the use of monitoring systems (e.g. cameras or observers) across all commercial fishing fleets, and by making captured data publicly accessible.
  9. Address the land-based impacts threatening our coastal and marine ecosystems, including sedimentation, forestry slash, plastic pollution, and nutrient runoff.
  10. Prioritise the uptake of conservation initiatives and nature-based solutions to improve our ocean’s resilience to climate change and to prevent and reverse biodiversity loss.


As well as WWF, these ‘Asks’ are supported by:

Logos of supporting organisations


Show your support for the '10 Asks' this election

Our ocean - is essential to all life on earth. The ocean is a major food source and produces more than half of the world’s oxygen. A massive carbon sink, it also plays a vital role in regulating climate change. A healthy ocean is central to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders - and critical for future generations. 

Aotearoa New Zealand has one of the largest maritime areas in the world. Our economy relies on the ocean and our ocean is estimated to support 80% of New Zealand's biodiversity.

Currently less than 0.5% of Aotearoa’s ocean territory is protected. Approximately 90% of our seabirds, 85% of our invertebrates, 80% of our shorebirds and 22% of our marine mammals either threatened with or at risk of extinction. Important areas, like the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana, are in a state of sustained and dramatic decline. We need to do better for our oceans.

Show your support for our 10 ‘Asks’ for the Ocean and take a stand with us for better marine protection.