Offshore Environmental news

The most established and experienced offshore seabed monitoring team working in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone
20 March 2015

Experts in seabed monitoring

Cawthron's offshore environmental team is a dedicated group of marine scientists paving the way for adaptive management of offshore industry in New Zealand, with extensive local and overseas marine environmental expertise.

Most experienced

Created in 2010, and led by Cawthron scientists Olivia Johnston and Deanna Elvines, the team has collectively spent over 8,000 hours at sea. It forms the longest established, most experienced offshore benthic (seabed) monitoring crew operational in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Services related to the Exclusive Economic Zone

The EEZ Act includes a marine consenting process for activities outside of our territorial sea, such as oil and gas drilling, and mining and aquaculture activities.

The team has an outstanding track record with existing offshore clients, and is well equipped to provide services related to the Act.

Established industry relationships

For example, demonstrating the unique relationship they have with industry, the team helped create Version 1 of the Offshore Taranaki Environmental Monitoring Protocol (OTEMP), which is a basis for 'best practice' by offshore operators, science providers and regulators alike. The team reviews OTEMP on an annual or biannual basis to reflect changes in science, techniques and best practice.

Expert senior marine scientists

The offshore team also includes senior marine scientists who are experts in the offshore environmental field in their own right:

  • Joanne Ellis has 14 years' experience in marine ecology, with specific expertise in environmental effects of offshore hydrocarbon extraction. She played a key role in the development of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agencies' national policy and regulatory framework. Joanne's current research for Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is working toward environmental assessment frameworks for New Zealand's EEZ offshore mining sector, and she's involved in an MPI program to develop marine ecosystem monitoring protocols for New Zealand.
  • Paul Barter has 18 years' experience of professional environmental consulting both in New Zealand and in the United States. He has significant background and expertise in environmental impact assessment and monitoring; consent guidance and appeals; mooring and coastal/offshore platform design; and water and sediment quality impact evaluations. Paul has managed over 50 large-scale projects focused on environmental effects, including those from industrial activities and oil spills, and has contributed to the bioremediation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. 
  • Leading Cawthron's biosecurity team, Grant Hopkins has over 13 years of experience in assessing the effects of human activities on the marine environment. Since arriving at Cawthron in 2001, he has authored more than 100 consultancy reports, publications and popular articles, and served in expert witness roles. More recently, he has become a leader in biosecurity risk assessment and mitigation for New Zealand offshore industry. His current research focusses on cost-effective options to manage biosecurity risks posed by drilling rigs and associated vessels. 

All the expertise you need – in one place

Cawthron's world-leading scientific and technical staff all contribute to the organisation's multidisciplinary capability.

Other capability at Cawthron applied to offshore projects includes:

To learn more about how we can help you with offshore environmental services, please email us or phone Olivia Johnston +64 3 539 3256.