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Scientists investigate challenges facing marine environment

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 11 August, 2014 – For immediate use

Scientists investigate challenges facing New Zealand’s marine environment

The future challenges faced by New Zealand seas and how we might address them will be a key focus of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Conference being held this week in Nelson.

More than 250 of New Zealand’s leading marine scientists, and industry and Government representatives, are attending the conference from 11 to 14 August beginning with a welcome reception at Cawthron Institute tonight (11 August).

“This conference is the annual highlight for New Zealand’s marine sciences community,” NZMSS President Dr Mary Livingston says. “The theme of this year’s event is ‘Shaping our Marine Future’ with a focus on the latest advancements in marine science and how we can best address the marine science and resource issues facing New Zealand.”

“By gathering together to address the key challenges and opportunities we can share ideas and information that will help shape the integrated and sustainable use of New Zealand’s coastal and marine environments.”

The conference, to be held at Rutherford Hotel, will be officially opened tomorrow morning by Hon Dr Nick Smith, Minister of Conservation.

“Delegates will be sharing some of their latest ocean discoveries and findings at a time when their science is needed more than ever to inform sustainable management of New Zealand’s marine resources,” Cawthron marine scientist and co-chair of the conference, Dr Chris Cornelisen, says.

The four-day conference includes more than 150 presentations from scientists on a broad range of subjects including estuaries and coastal science needs, sustainable seafood, marine biosecurity, the Antarctic toothfish fishery in the Ross Sea, meeting offshore challenges associated with petroleum and mining activities, and ocean acidification. Read the full conference programme.

Government and industry representatives will also be presenting talks on preparation for the coming decades as interest in developing New Zealand’s marine resources increases. A key question is, how does New Zealand best prepare itself with the information and data it needs for sustainable development of the marine environment?

The event features invited plenary addresses and three thematic sessions focused around:

- Ecology and Ecosystems

- Fisheries to Aquaculture

- Resource use in the Marine Environment

Invited plenary speaker topics include:

- Developing a Marine Research Strategy for New Zealand

- National Science Challenges

- Seafood industry

- Sustainable fishing

- Whales in the Hauraki Gulf

Field trips include a visit to Cawthron Aquaculture Park, New Zealand’s largest land-based aquaculture facility focusing on developing a sustainable aquaculture industry for New Zealand.

Delegates can also enjoy a trip on the NIWA coastal vessel Ikatere, exploring the bathymetry and sea floor features around Haulashore Island and along the Boulder Bank and seeing first-hand the 3-D capabilities of state-of-the-art seabed mapping.

ENDS


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