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Blue Cradle and NRC hold workshops on the fight against microplastics and marine pests



thumbnail bc-workshop-web-151In June, a team of scientists on board the SV Manawanui stopped off in Marsden Cove, participating in two workshops organised in collaboration with Northland Regional Council.

Attendees of the June 21 workshop included representatives from local communities, hapu and iwi, central government and science research institutions.

The workshop included presentations by scientists involved in the cruise. They provided an overview of the purpose and background of the expedition. They then talked about microplastics and new early detection tools for marine biosecurity surveillance.

The attendees got the chance to test out different monitoring tools and discuss their knowledge from the morning.

“The workshop offered participants the chance to learn more about how plastics break down over time, how widely distributed they are in our oceans and the damaging impacts they can have on marine life,” says Kathryn Lister, the council’s marine biosecurity manager.

“Participants also learned about environmental DNA detection tools which can support better marine biosecurity outcomes by finding pests early before they become widely established and difficult to manage or eradicate.”

Participants discussed how we can put these monitoring capabilities into the hands of everyday citizens.

“It’s important to be able to empower people. If we give them the tools, they can help our ocean environments that are under pressure due to microplastics and the spread of marine pests,” says Kathryn.

“There are all sorts of methods used to measure the effects of microplastics and to detect marine pests early. Solutions happen with top-notch equipment, knowledge and the desire to make a difference.”

The following day several schools went aboard S/V Manawanui for a hands-on educational experience. The workshop saw about 100 students learn about microplastics, marine biosecurity and the ocean environment.

The crew of the S/V Manawanui are on a 14-day expedition between Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland and Opua to shed light on how microplastic pollution impacts these environments and the eco-system-based industries they support.

The expedition collaborates with ocean non-profit Blue Cradle Foundation, the Cawthron Institute, the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, the University of Auckland, and Algalita South Pacific, and kick-starts Aotearoa’s participation in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

A group of scientists and institutions collaborate to fight microplastics and marine pests.

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