Reef Life Project

Reef Life Project

Reef Life Project

South Taranaki Underwater Club

In 2006, a Department of Conservation report highlighted that there were gaps in the information available about the South Taranaki coastal marine area. A number of years on, the South Taranaki Underwater Diving Club decided to address this gap, and applied for funding to explore the question "What makes the sub-tidal reefs at South Taranaki unique?"

The project aimed to raise awareness of the local reef life within the community, to inspire curiosity and encourage South Taranaki youth to consider a future in science, and to promote inter-generational learning between local divers, fishermen, recreational beach users, scientists, engineers, iwi and passionate environmentalists.

A project team was created, drawing on a vast range of local knowledge and experience. The team set to work to build and place an “in-situ” camera on the reef floor, to continuously study and record the reef environment. Citizen scientists, including local school children, volunteered to spend time surveying the images and documenting the reef life.

The project team also oversaw sound recordings, seabed snapshots, scuba diving observations, and the measurement of fish in the area that were line-caught and released.

The project has contributed significantly to the information available on the species and reef structures to be found in this special area. The South Taranaki Underwater Club is now working with the Taranaki Regional Council, DOC and iwi, to have the reef recognised as having outstanding value in their Coastal Plan.

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