Marie ASCHENBRENNER, Department of Geography, LMU Munich, Germany
Recently, the idea has been promoted that topics of marine management and marine and coastal environmental protection need to be viewed not only through a natural sciences or economic perspective but a lens of social sciences (see e.g. the foundation of the Marine Social Sciences Network in 2018). The relationship between society and the global seas and coasts has increasingly been problematized and addressed in this context. Concepts like ocean literacy, pro?environmental behaviour change and ocean and marine citizenship seem to provide opportunities to induce change – from inside communities – and have been linked to other ideas of ocean and coastal sustainability like a blue economy.
In Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, the marine spatial planning project Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari (2013-2017) has resulted in the spatial definition of ahu moana (ahu = nurture, build up / moana = the ocean). Ahu moana are defined as near shore co-management areas, meant to be managed by local tribes and communities. While the marine plan is still non-statutory, several local groups have taken up the idea of ahu moana. They initiated projects to counteract the ongoing environmental degradation and have successfully lobbied national government for becoming pilot projects. The paper reports on a three-month field research with a group on Waiheke Island, suburb of Auckland and popular tourist destination, that initiated an extensive collaborative partnership project to regenerate the marine environment. It shows how ideas of ocean literacy and of a changing (behavioural) relationship between society and the sea were taken up in this case. It reports on conflicts between local interests, values and viewpoints, and their unfolding on an ethical level. The paper aims at giving a critical perspective on ocean literacy and ocean/marine citizenship “from the field”, and by taking up concepts of urban ethics, governmentality, the creation of ethical subjects as well as moral economies.
Keywords: ocean literacy|ocean citizenship|urban ethics|marine spatial planning|Aotearoa New Zealand