Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 13 Issue 03

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Volume 13, No. 3

The Pacific Ocean and Global OBIS: A New Zealand Perspective

Dennis P. Gordon | National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand

First Paragraph

New Zealand is the most oceanic nation of significant size, in the world's largest ocean. It is more than 1600 km from the nearest continent, has a land area of 268,200 km2 (103,552 square miles), and a very large Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), almost 4.2 million km2, that spans 30° of latitude and exceeds fifteen times the land area (Figure 1). This large sea area constitutes both a huge resource reservoir and a huge challenge to a country with only 3.8 million people. And, although the scales vary, similar challenges exist for the many small Pacific Island states with EEZs vastly exceeding land areas. The Ocean Biogeographical Information System (OBIS) and Census of Marine Life (CoML) concepts have particular appeal to New Zealand oceanographers and fisheries scientists who are in the process of developing regional equivalents that can also link with the global system. Here, I review New Zealand's ocean information systems, current challenges and constraints, and the potential to contribute to a global OBIS/CoML, in the context of the Pacific Ocean.


Gordon, D.P. 2000. The Pacific Ocean and Global OBIS: A New Zealand perspective. Oceanography 13(3):41–47, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2000.08.