This coming week is seaweek - Kaupapa Moana. This is New Zealand's annual national week about our sea. Seaweek focuses on learning from our sea. Helping New Zealanders of all ages reconnect with the sea by learning its habitats, characteristics and inhabitants better. The ocean is still a mystery to us. As of 2018, they believe 80% of our oceans are unmapped, unobserved and unexplored, yet it covers about 70% of our planet. Our oceans are a major part of our life here on the planet as they drive weather, regulate temperature, supports all living organisms and provides nearly half the air we breathe. We use the ocean for transport of people and goods, food source, inspiration and growth. A lot of this unknown is down to it being time consuming, expensive and difficult due to ocean pressures.
We have explored and tried to explore the ocean a lot. We have fairly explored about 556feet (170m) deep which on a grand scheme of size is nothing. The average depth of the planets oceans is roughly 13,120feet (4,000m) which is the height of many peaks in the Rockies and the Alps!!
Some scary facts regarding what we still don't know about this planet! But, do you know about the ocean around New Zealand?
NZAEE Seaweek are here annually to create opportunities nationwide to help promote learning and about in and for our oceans. This is so important for New Zealand as it is an island surrounded by water. It holds seascapes rich and complex due to its range and scope plus its geographical position across active plates, major water masses and current systems. What is astounding is the marine life area is over 15 times larger than that of our land - our exclusive economic zone is the 4th largest in the world!! This amazing environment is home to more than 15,000 known species to man. Many of these cannot be found anywhere else in the world which makes them extra special to New Zealand. Every fortnight, there is an average of seven new marine species identified - scientist estimate there may be up to 65,000 species in NZ's coastal waters, yet only about 650 of these have only ever been surveyed. That is 1%!!
A lot of this marine life might be gone before we have even studied them. Our ocean inhabitants are under pressure from a wide range of human activities. These include coastal development, over-fishing, the types of fishing methods that is damaging to other marine life, bad boating practices and also, climate change.
NZAEE Seaweek is here to encourage and motivate positive change towards marine sustainability. It embraces research, addresses current issues around the oceans and marine life, celebrates success and brings people together with a common interest...Our Ocean.
There are a number of activities going on during the week which you can check out here:
https://www.seaweek.org.nz/events/ - Follow the links to your region. There is so much to get outdoors and do with an immense amount of information packs.
I, myself will be down at Sumner Beach helping and photographing the Coastal Beach Clean Up on Saturday 2nd March at 1030am - 1pm. Bring friends, family and children. This is a great way for children to learn about litter and the oceans as well as respecting the land they live on. Here is the link for that event: https://www.facebook.com/events/293492488015815/
Get out there and learn something about our ocean. Get involved with an activity coming up or just help clean our coastal beaches. Be safe but also have lots of fun. I would love to know what you have learned!
"Far and away, the greatest threat to the ocean, and thus to ourselves, is ignorance. But we can do something about that" - Sylvia Earle