Murky waters: adaptive management, uncertainty and seabed mining in the Exclusive Economic Zone
In 2012 the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Affairs) Act (EEZ Act) established a discretionary consenting regime for resource activities and development in New Zealand waters beyond the territorial sea - the exclusive economic zone. The act sought to strike a balance between economic development and environmental protection by obliging the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to consider adaptive management when deciding whether to grant consent to applications with uncertain effects. Adaptive management was seen as a way to temper a precautionary approach to environmental management and to allow for flexible decision making (Adams, 2012); it was initially welcomed by industry submitters, who have since reversed their views.
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