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Minister urges NZers to get involved in marine conservation

Hon Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Conservation

6 March 2012

Minister urges New Zealanders to get involved in marine conservation

Seaweek is all about inspiring New Zealanders to celebrate and learn from the sea, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said at the national launch of Seaweek last night.

“New Zealand’s seas are more than 15 times larger than our land area, and home to more than 15,000 known species, many not found anywhere else in the world,” she said.

The launch event at Auckland Zoo kicked off a week of marine conservation activities around the country, and at last count more than 120 events had been registered.

Seaweek 2012 runs from March 3 to 11, and the theme this year is “One Ocean – Too Much Love? Turning the Tide”.

It is the only nationwide event dedicated to learning from the sea and to developing an understanding of what sustainability might mean in the marine world. It is celebrated annually in New Zealand and Australia and coordinated in New Zealand by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education.

“Seaweek is a great time to celebrate everything we love about the ocean, but it’s also a good time for people to reflect on how their activities impact the marine environment,” says Ms Wilkinson.

“Sustainable management of our oceans has become increasingly challenging, and the Department of Conservation is just one of a large range of organisations coming together to attempt to deal with these complex issues,” she said.

“It’s not just during Seaweek that we hope the public will learn about marine conservation. There are many ways you can get involved throughout the year, including small things like reporting any sightings of Maui’s dolphins and New Zealand sea lions. Another way boaties can help is by being mindful of following safe-distance regulations when you come across marine mammals.”

The national closing event will take place in Akaroa on Saturday 10 March. Dr Gareth Morgan - economist, philanthropist, voyager and leader of the Our Far South Expedition - will present a personal perspective on the Southern Ocean drawing on experience from his recent scientific and educational expedition to Antarctica.

ENDS

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