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Ordinary kiwis make huge difference to oceans at Seaweek


For immediate release - Sunday 24 February 2013

Ordinary kiwis make huge difference to New Zealand oceans at Seaweek 2013

The most comprehensive biodiversity monitoring blitz ever undertaken on New Zealand’s rocky shoreline is a key feature of NZAEE Seaweek from March 2 – 10.

School children, community groups and iwi will work alongside scientists to take a close-up look at 1m sq patches of their local marine environment in just one of the many events planned for NZAEE’s Seaweek 2013.

The Marine Metre Squared Project is already underway with volunteers recording everything from algae to plants, fish and pests or sedimentation found in their ‘metre squared’ plot. An easy to use tool kit is available and anyone interested in joining a local event can visit www.seaweek.org.nz

National Coordinator Mels Barton says hundreds of volunteers have signed up to gather the much-needed data with the ultimate aim of establishing a baseline of existing marine biodiversity around New Zealand.

“There’s very little information on what’s actually in our shorelines now and what we want to know is ‘what is out there and are we losing it?’.

“It’s so encouraging to see enthusiastic people working together with agencies on these projects and, realistically, we couldn’t achieve the level of data without their help.”

Seaweek events also allow participants to gather information vital to climate, weather and ocean research through the ‘Adopt an Argo Data Float’ initiative. Visit www.seaweek.org.nz for more. The site has downloadable teaching resources and links to useful sites on the Resources page as well as competitions to enter.

With hundreds of events nationally, Seaweek - “Toiora te Moana- Toiora te Tangata Healthy Seas – Healthy People” - aims to inspire all Kiwis to celebrate Tangaroa’s realm and tackle important issues such as pollution, pest species and illegal harvesting of the sea’s bounty to keep our seas healthy for everyone.

Dr Barton says the work is suitable for families, school children and anyone wanting to contribute to the ultimate goal of re-establishing important fish stocks and marine biodiversity.

In Auckland Seaweek sees the launch of an exciting and ambitious restoration project Called Revive Our Gulf www.reviveourgulf.org.nz (TBC) The aim of the project is to restore the seabed mussel reefs to the Hauraki Gulf, which once filtered and cleaned the entire volume of the Gulf, before disappearing in the 1950s. Restoring these beds will create healthy ecosystems and a natural diversity of marine life.

Contact Seaweek National Coordinator Mels Barton for Seaweek posters or resources on mels@subliminal.co.nz

The official launch of NZAEE Seaweek 2013 will be held at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World on Monday 4 March at 7pm

Seaweek 2013 is sponsored by ASB Community Trust, Department of Conservation, NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, Auckland Council and DSP Print Group Ltd.

Seaweek is organised by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) and is in it’s 22nd year.

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