Marine Sanctuaries in New Zealand: ISV Helping to Clean Up our Coasts

by on Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Little Blue Penguin

New Zealand has some stunning coastal areas. Our oceans are rich with sea life and our coasts are home to numerous sea birds and mammals – including little blue penguins, dotterels and seals. In summer and winter each year, ISV NZ volunteer teams contribute to environmental management practices on beaches and marine protected areas.

New Zealand is a party (along with 193 other countries) to the Global Convention on Biological Diversity and is committed to protecting at least 10% of its coastal and marine territory through a network of Marine Protected Areas by 2020. New Zealand currently has a network of 34 Marine Reserves.

ISV has several projects which are adjacent to some of these marine reserves. Each season ISV’s volunteers devote thousands of person-hours to removing rubbish from coastal areas. Last year, 593 hours were spent collecting plastics, packaging, bottle caps, shoes – you name it, we’ve found it! I’m always amazed by the amount of litter that ISV groups remove from beaches.

ISV Tawharanui Group (June 25, 2011), (c) used with permission from Kelsey Bruns

Why is this important? It’s not just because rubbish looks ugly, it’s also a serious hazard for coastal and marine wildlife. Many marine creatures are killed after becoming entangled in rubbish. More than 140 species of marine animals, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds, have been reported entangled in marine litter. Ingestion of plastic can lead to dehydration, choking, starvation, poisoning, internal damage and death of a variety of marine animals – from sea turtles to seabirds – which mistake pieces of plastic for food. When litter settles on the sea floor it can smother animals that live there by blocking out light and nutrients

How does it get there? Litter is dumped at sea, but also flows to the sea from our cities, suburbs and rural areas. The problem is huge world-wide, but the solution in practice is fairly simple – don’t litter, recycle, compost food scraps, have properly contained landfill and waste management. Waste management is a global issue and while rubbish clean ups are not a long-term solution, they help ensure that each year dotterels, penguins, and skinks nest on the coastlines amongst other benefits.

Come experience and help us cleanup NZ's amazing coasts! (c) used with permission from Kelsey Bruns

Come to New Zealand and volunteer to help maintain our precious coastlines; we’re working hard to keep the marine environment healthy, for the benefit of all the creatures that inhabit it!

Liana Middeldorp

ISV New Zealand Project Manager







{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: