Guardianship of oceans

Last updated 14:14 28/02/2014

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This week Department of Conservation community relations ranger Clare Moore talks about the amazing diversity of marine life in our seas. --------------------

New Zealand's marine area is 15 times larger than our land area, and is home to more than 15,000 known species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

However, there is an average of seven new marine species identified every fortnight, and scientists estimate there may be up to 65,000 species in New Zealand's coastal waters, but less than 1 per cent of our marine area has ever been surveyed.

So who looks after this marvellous and mysterious treasure? The Department of Conservation protects our marine mammals, various government departments - including the regional council - looks after other parts of the ocean and its inhabitants, while groups such as Greenpeace and Forest & Bird do their bit too.

However, the main group of people that look after the sea is each and every one of you.

We all care for the sea all the time of course, but during Seaweek [March 1-9] we can care for it that little bit more. Seaweek is co-ordinated by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education [NZAEE] and helps open our eyes to our wonderful oceans and how we can help protect them.

This year's theme is "Our fragile, finite taonga" highlighting how precious this amazing resource is, and there is a whole bunch of activities to help you understand how you can care for our oceans, and to learn about some of the creatures that call the ocean home.

Whale Stranding! Learn about whales and how to respond to whale strandings with presentations and hands on activities with Project Jonah and DOC. We will be "saving" a "whale" on the foreshore so wear casual clothes and comfy shoes (you won't be getting wet). This is on Saturday from 10am to noon, with another session from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Meet at Dolphin Watch & Nature Tours in Picton.

Against the Odds - Fighting to save the Golden Bay whales on Saturday from 7pm to 9pm. Meet at Dolphin Watch & Nature Tours. Hear first-hand experiences from whale rescuers and learn more about how to help.

Stingray Day is on Sunday from 2pm to 4pm at Dolphin Watch. Join Conservation Kids New Zealand during Seaweek at Dolphin Watch & Nature Tours for a fun and educational afternoon filled with crafts, games and activities learning all about stingrays. Gold coin entry. Ideal for ages 5 -12, but all welcome.

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EcoWorld Picton open days on March 2 and 9. Explore, get up close and have fun discovering some amazing animals that make New Zealand unique. Entry is $5 per person and $25 for a family.

Beachcomber Fun Cruises - kids go free. There will be a Ship Cove cruise on March 1, 2, 8 and 9. Cruise around Queen Charlotte Sound's most beautiful bays. Look out for seabirds and meet our famous pet fish - a mixture of herring, mullet and big blue cod. One child [5-14 years] per full fare paying adult travels for free. Visit beachcombercruises.co.nz and quote "seaweek" when booking.

For more on Seaweek check out seaweek.org.nz.

- The Marlborough Express

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