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Lost Scientific Buoy Recovered From Kāpiti Seafloor

Researchers have recovered a scientific buoy from the Kāpiti Marine Reserve that went missing in late March.

On Friday afternoon, the buoy was successfully hauled to the surface in a joint effort by NIWA, DOC and the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).

NIWA physical oceanographer Dr Joe O’Callaghan describes the recovery as a "huge relief" following several attempts to retrieve the buoy.

After an initial inspection, Dr O’Callaghan believes the buoy was not hit by a vessel.

"We will do some further forensics over the next few weeks but it appears that the depth and swift currents at the Kāpiti location made for challenging conditions for the mooring.

The buoy named ‘WRIBO-K’ (Wellington Region Integrated Buoy Observations - Kāpiti) was installed in Kāpiti Marine Reserve in November to provide a range of real time scientific measurements including currents, waves, salinity, water temperature, sediment, wind direction and speed. This buoy was a ‘sister’ to WRIBO, deployed in Wellington Harbour in 2017.

GWRC Coastal Scientist Dr Megan Oliver says data collected by the buoy provided valuable insights into the way activities on land affects ocean water quality.

"We are naturally disappointed that the buoy and mooring are no longer in place, but this is always the risk when you put equipment in the ocean.

"We will take a closer look at the instruments in the next few weeks and see what can be salvaged or repaired, and possibly redeployed."

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