Marine Think Tank identifies key audiences to help future proof marine biosecurity


02-12-2018 11:00 am

A Marine Think Tank was held in Auckland in November 2018 that included Joint Graduate School (JGS) in Biodiversity and Biosecurity students, community and people involved in the day to day management of marine biosecurity.

The challenge was to think about new ideas and approaches to get 4.7 million ‘eyes and ears’ looking for changes in the marine environment. This was an early example implementing the Biosecurity 2025 programme to future proof the marine biosecurity system.

“We thought this would be an awesome opportunity for people to work together and think about how they could engage key groups to understand better changes in the marine environment so that we can get on top of problems sooner rather than later,” says Dr Andrew Bell, Manager Border and Biosecurity Systems at the Ministry for Primary Industries. 

The Think Tank is just one of the ways the Biosecurity 2025 programme can improve outcomes in the marine environment by helping New Zealand create a strong, resilient and future-proofed biosecurity system.

What we asked

We asked the group, “How do we get 4.7 million people to be the eyes and ears of the marine environment in New Zealand?”

Their response was to identify specific target audiences that they believed are the ‘eyes and ears’.

What we learnt

  • Awareness is key!
  • The marine environment needs to be real to motivate people
  • Here’s some examples of the different ideas to get people to do the right thing:
    • Warrant of fitness for boats
    • Include biosecurity in the day skippers course
    • Use of rahui, taiapure and mataitai
    • Co-governance / kaitiakitanga
    • Licensed pest removers
    • Use digital tools including iNaturalist, Questagame
    • Create incentive programmes
    • New programmes: marine border control and documentaries
    • Harvest pests e.g. undaria

How do we find 4.7 million ‘eyes and ears’?

The group identified key audiences based on how easy it would be to get access to them, whether they’re motivated or not and their suitability. They dove deeper and discussed the following groups:

  1. Māori – Rangatahi/Youth/Tamariki (future focused/broad reach) and Kaitiaki and local guardians – iwi, hapu, customary whanau
  2. Commercial
    1. Marina operators/aquaculture/ports/shipping/fishing/diving (Good reach and knowledge but unclear what the motivation would be for reporting)
    2. Tourism – operators/tourists/cruise ships
  3. Recreation
    1. Boaties/local vessel owners/day skippers (wide reach/traditionally an important vector)
    2. Divers – Recreational/tourism/photography (small reach but high quality reporting)
    3. Other recreational – walkers/beach users/fishers

Ideas to kick start some action

Here are some simple suggestions using tools and resources already available: