The Department of Conservation is undertaking new research in the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve this week as part of its ‘ecological integrity programme.’
The work is timely and coincides with Seaweek 2015, which is being celebrated nationwide to connect New Zealanders to the marine environment and encourage them to ‘look beneath the surface.’
School of demoiselles
Director-General of Conservation, Lou Sanson, said, “It is critical we care for our precious marine environment and set aside marine protected areas that will help us learn more and sustain our ecosystems and ultimately our economy.”
The research has been made possible through DOC’s partnership with Air New Zealand.
“We are proud of our partnership with Air New Zealand and excited at the prospect of working with them on projects such as this and this is the way forward for marine conservation,” said Sanson.
Air New Zealand Sponsorship and Communities Manager Meghan Blair said, “Supporting this work is one contribution that Air New Zealand is making to help maintain and restore the health of New Zealand’s marine environment.
“We are a major partner in the programme which enables DOC to expand its research and gain a greater understanding of our marine ecosystems.”
A team of researchers will undertake video and diver surveys of fish numbers and carry out remote camera surveys of deep habitats within the reserve.
Dive in the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve
DOC has been doing similar research around Stewart Island/Rakiura, the Abel Tasman coast, Hahei in the Coromandel and Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui in the Marlborough Sounds to help understand what condition the marine environment is in.
Air New Zealand is the sole sponsor of DOC’s Marine Experiences Network, which promotes 10 iconic marine reserves from around New Zealand’s coast as Coastal Gem destinations.