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Amazing Marine Life Celebrated During Seaweek

MEDIA RELEASE
Amazing Marine Life Celebrated During Seaweek

The nationwide theme for Seaweek 7-14 March this year is “Our amazing marine life, let’s protect it - Ko te whakamiharo ki nga taonga a Tangaroa, kia pumau te tiaki.

The theme, set by the New Zealand Environmental Education Association (NZAEE), aims to raise awareness of coastal and ocean environments and encourages all New Zealanders to help look after their local marine areas.

"We want people to take part, have fun and come away with some ideas about things they can do through the year to make a difference,” Association marine educator Wendy Barry said today.

“Regional Seaweek co-ordinators have great activities planned this year around the country to get people out to the coast and into the water."

Minister of Conservation Chris Carter said we were lucky in New Zealand to have a rich and varied marine environment.
“Our seascapes contain an extraordinary variety of coastal and marine plants and animals. Seaweek is a great time to explore our local beaches and coasts and learn about our amazing marine biodiversity.”
Marine species made up close to one-third of New Zealand’s total number of described native species. On average, one new fish species and six new invertebrate species are identified every fortnight.

“The sea is a huge part of New Zealand’s culture, customs and lifestyle. But it is a finely balanced environment and the many different interests and activities we subject the sea to, combined with pollution, introduced pests and seaweeds and some fishing practices, are putting pressure on it, said Chris Carter
“People these days often say to me – the fishing just isn’t what it used to be! As each generation passes we run the risk of lowering our expectations of our marine environment. We forget what used to be there. Programmes like Seaweek do a lot to educate us in this area.

Seaweek activities are listed on the NZAEE website www.nzaee.org.nz or at www.doc.govt.nz

Background information

What is Seaweek

Seaweek is an annual week-long celebration of our marine environment, co-ordinated in New Zealand by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education Incorporated (NZAEE).

Seaweek highlights community awareness and appreciation of the coast and ocean, provides information and education on marine issues, and encourages New Zealanders to get involved with projects that help protect and enhance the local marine environment.

The objectives of Seaweek are to:
- Celebrate the sea; its beauty, diversity and cultural significance for New Zealanders
- Promote understanding and awareness of the significance of marine and coastal biodiversity and sustainable practices both at sea and on the land
- Organise activities to raise awareness of the need for marine and coastal conservation
Each year a different theme is chosen as a focus for activities. With this theme in mind, regional co-ordinators nationwide and Seaweek committee members organise events in their areas.
Many organisations participate in Seaweek, including iwi organisations, schools, central government agencies, territorial authorities, outdoor recreation groups, zoos, aquariums, museums and other non-government organisations.

Dates for 2004

Sunday 7 to Sunday 14 March

This year’s theme

“Our amazing marine life, let’s protect it - Ko te whakamiharo ki nga taonga a Tangaroa, kia pumau te tiaki.”

Contacts and more information:

More information about Seaweek and the list of activities for 2004 is listed on the official Seaweek website www.nzaee.org.nz or available from Department of Conservation offices and regional councils.

For information on marine biodiversity visit the Seaweek pages on www.doc.govt.nz

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