Hawke's Bay could be schooled in all things fish if a local campaigner and a Napier politician have their way.
Neil Kirton and Napier MP Stuart Nash have joined forces to address the region's "ailing marine environment" - pushing for the establishment of a national oceans research institute here.
"A research institute in the region presents an opportunity to promote New Zealand and Hawke's Bay as a world leader in oceans management," Mr Nash said. "I am happy to work with Neil and the community in promoting the idea alongside other initiatives to rescue the region's ailing marine environment".
Mr Kirton said as the Bay is at "arm's length" from the Wellington bureaucracy and fisheries industry lobbyists, it could add to the region's established marine-focused reputation - one generated by the presence of the national aquarium in Napier.
He said the capital also needs to improve its governance of New Zealand's oceans.
"There is currently no dedicated Government ministry for oceans," he said.
"There is no parliamentary commissioner for oceans - and yet our oceans are our greatest natural resource."
This has left the country's marine environment being treated like the "wild west", Mr Nash said.
"More and more evidence is emerging that the nation's marine management is compromised.
"The public is demanding greater accountability and performance."
Their vision for such an institute would be one that could be established with a combination of the expertise Hawke's Bay Regional Council scientists had to offer with academia that could be facilitated through tertiary institutes such as EIT.
"We need to start building and consolidating the nation's research knowledge and overcome the fragmented oceans management infrastructure," Mr Kirton said. This week the Hawke's Bay Regional Council is being asked to adopt the "Hawke's Bay Marine Information: Review and Research Strategy" for publication.
According to an officers' report submitted to the council for this Wednesday's meeting, the strategy was commissioned by the council in conjunction with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi.
The officers' report summarises available information on marine habitats within the Hawke's Bay coastal marine area, and also contains a gaps analysis based on the collation of current information including recommendations on addressing these gaps.
"Staff have been working with a range of individuals and agencies for the past 12-18 months on gaining a greater understanding of the marine environment," the report reads.