For the latest information on the Ministry's work on Oceans, see Protecting New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone .
New Zealanders value the marine area for many reasons: for transportation, fishing, recreation, tourism, and its spiritual and cultural significance. A healthy functioning ocean also provides a range of important environmental benefits and life-sustaining functions that are critical to human and other life.
New Zealand has jurisdiction over a very large area of ocean and one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the world. New Zealand’s EEZ is rich in such resources as fisheries and minerals. The EEZ contains a mix of habitats including deep sea trenches (up to 10 kilometres deep) and seamounts.
Scientists are constantly learning more about the ocean. However, there is still plenty we do not know about the ocean processes that support life in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our ocean has immense value to life, and supports a wide diversity of plants, animals and food resources. New Zealand's marine environment is home to a large number of species that live nowhere else in the world.
Our ocean also offers economic opportunities through activities such as fishing, aquaculture, hydrocarbon exploration, extraction of mineral deposits, ocean tourism, and biotechnology. The sustainable development and wise use of these resources is important for a healthy economy. Being an island nation, the health of our ocean, our land and our people are inextricably linked.
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Last updated: 26 August 2011