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New National Centre for Coasts & Oceans

24 November 2004

New National Centre for Coasts & Oceans

Sustainable development of the coasts & oceans will be the focus of a new National Centre formed by the National Institute for Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The Centre will be launched today (24 November) on board NIWA’s deepwater research vessel, Tangaroa.

“Science has much to offer in helping guide exploration, management, and protection of coastal and marine resources,” says NIWA’s chief executive, Dr Rick Pridmore.

“Our six existing National Centres are successfully increasing the impact and uptake of science in aquatic biodiversity & biosecurity, climate, the interface between climate and energy, fisheries & aquaculture, natural hazards, and water resources. We have created the National Centre for Coasts & Oceans so people have an easy ‘first port of call’ on those issues too.”

“The Centre’s activities will be diverse,” says its leader, Dr Ian Wright. “We can draw on the talents of over 80 NIWA staff and technology such as ocean-satellite receiving systems, our upgraded supercomputer, and coastal monitoring networks.”

The Centre’s capabilities, and their potential uses, include: Detailed seafloor mapping to support central government’s ocean policy, to determine where to lay submarine electricity cables or gas pipelines, or to ensure safe shipping in Antarctic waters. Hydrodynamic modelling of coastal waters to test the likely effects of run-off from proposed housing development, to identify sites of sustainable offshore sand mining, or to analyse the water flow through and around proposed marine farms.

Ecological studies and habitat mapping to distinguish the natural cycles of animal abundance in estuaries from changes caused by pollution, to minimise the impact of coastal engineering, or to help iwi with coastal management plans.

ENDS

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