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New HAWQi buoy to improve coastal water information

4 December 2012

New HAWQi buoy to improve coastal water information

Only the second of its type in New Zealand coastal waters, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s permanent coastal monitoring buoy was placed offshore of Whirinaki in the weekend.

“The data from the buoy increases our extensive climate network out to sea for the first time and will be as useful to fishermen wanting to check conditions before going on a fishing trip, as it will be to our long term environmental monitoring programmes,” says HBRC coastal scientist, Anna Madarasz- Smith.

Known as HAWQi – Hawkes Bay Water Quality Information - the buoy will provide base-line data on water quality, wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure and temperature. It also communicates any changes to HBRC such as moving position or losing power.

The area was carefully selected by HBRC scientists as it is away from wastewater outfalls, trawling areas and shipping lanes and is a recreational fishing area so its data will have a wider use. The data will be on the council’s website www.hbrc.govt.nz next year after testing.

The buoy was designed and built by Cawthron Institute in Nelson in collaboration with the California-based Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

“We see this technology as a solution not only for HBRC, but for other councils throughout NZ that are wanting to monitor their environments and collect reliable long-term coastal water quality measurements,” says Cawthron Institute senior marine scientist Paul Barter.

“We need to improve the information we collect on our coastal waters, so we know to what degree things are changing and can plan accordingly.”

The project will increase the region’s data for the coastal zone which Hawke’s Bay Regional Council manages out to the 12 nautical mile limit.

“The buoy will be a great help in increasing our understanding of the currents, water quality and other sea conditions in this popular part of the bay,” says Ms Madarasz-Smith.

HAWQi was craned onto the fishing trawler Nancy Glen at West Quay, which took it out to sea and located it offshore of Tangoio at the position 39 23 07. 80 S, 176 56 58.128 E in approximately 17m charted depth. The buoy is secured to a 1 tonne anchoring block with a three-quarter tonne anchoring chain. Boaties are requested to keep clear of the buoy, and to give it wide berth.

The Cawthron Institute operates a similar buoy in Tasman Bay.

ENDS

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