Saturday, May 25, 2024

New marine monitoring programme and rangers network announced

A new monitoring programme for marine reserves and network of marine reserve rangers, will boost protection for the country’s special marine areas, Conservation Minister, Poto Williams said today.

The Minister announced the new Marine Monitoring and Reporting Framework to kick off Conservation Week activities.

The framework, developed by the Department of Conservation, is a comprehensive plan for the management of marine reserves, she said.

“This is the first time a nationally coordinated monitoring system will be in place and will allow results across marine reserves to be directly compared,” Ms Williams says.

The monitoring will allow drivers of biodiversity loss to be investigated such as habitat health, climate change effects, key species, compliance, water quality, invasive species, and pollution, depending on the aspirations of mana whenua and communities.

“In some places, we may be more interested in knowing how the populations of kōura or blue cod are faring,” Minister Williams says.

“In other areas it might be more important to see how habitats like kelp forests or sponge gardens are responding to climate change and more acidic seawater.”

She said the framework has an innovative and flexible design which builds upon historic monitoring methods, includes mātauranga, and incorporates new and emergent approaches to monitoring.

In addition to the new framework, 13 marine reserve rangers have been employed to care for 26 mainland marine reserves across the country.

“Their roles are a mixture of compliance, scientific monitoring, and working with local communities,” Ms Williams said.

This work is being delivered as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, which is focused on helping ecosystems and indigenous species thrive. Around 50% of our marine flora and fauna are found nowhere else on earth.

“People can help protect our marine species this Conservation Week (5-11 September 2022) by being a marine scientist at home through citizen science projects such as Spyfish Aotearoa.”

“Volunteers can help with tasks that are too big for researchers to do alone, such as identifying species in videos and measuring species in photos,” Minister Williams said.

The theme for this Conservation Week (5-11 September) is “take a moment to act for nature”.

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