Launch of the Ministry of Fisheries 'Guide to common deepsea invertebrates in New Zealand waters'
22 August 2005
Aboard Tangaroa, Overseas Terminal, 5.00pm
Kia ora Tatou.
Good evening everyone and welcome.
I am very pleased to be here on board Tangaroa today as this is a great opportunity for all of us who care about our oceans to come together to recognise some special work.
Today, we celebrate the release of this colourful and informative booklet that describes the unseen creatures in our seas: A Guide to Deepsea Invertebrates in New Zealand Waters.
These are the animals that make up an important part of our marine biodiversity.
Most of the species in the guide are typically encountered in deepwater fishing and in some cases, their existence has only been discovered as a result of fishing.
Being able to identify them accurately will be a major step in monitoring by the Ministry of Fisheries, industry fishers, and researchers alike, this part of the catch.
Sampling deepsea invertebrates is difficult and expensive work. This guide is the result of much hard work by researchers who have meticulously collected, recorded and identified samples that they have collected.
The guide brings together the knowledge and expertise gained by marine scientists during the last 30 years of research in New Zealand waters.
The job of identifying previously unseen animals is a painstaking task that requires dedication and expertise.
Taxonomists in New Zealand and around the world have been consulted to ensure that classifications are the most up-to-date. While the precise categorisation of some of these organisms may yet change, it is clear that this document will enable over 100 of these sea creatures to be monitored on a regular basis.
Identification of common animals found on the seashore or caught in shallow coastal waters can be arduous enough, but for the species found further offshore it is extremely difficult without some form of pictorial guide.
Your work in creating this colourful guide will allow others to identify and learn about deepsea invertebrates in a fraction of the time.
It will be valuable for fishers, fishery managers, fisheries compliance and monitoring staff, academics, those with environmental concerns, and anyone with a natural curiosity about the sea.
We recognise that our fisheries resources and the aquatic environment must be managed with care so that future generations can continue to enjoy the benefits of well-managed fisheries.
Being able to record catches of deepsea invertebrates caught as by-catch in fishing operations will enable us to better map their distribution, identify their importance, and manage fisheries so as to ensure that impacts of fishing do not pose an unacceptable risk.
This guide, is one of a number of government initiatives in marine protection. My colleague, the Minister of Conservation, and I are currently working together on the Marine Protected Area Strategy, which is nearing completion.
Tomorrow I will be releasing the Ministry's Strategy for Managing the Environmental Effects of Fishing. Together, these and other initiatives demonstrate how seriously we take the issue of protecting the marine environment and its biodiversity
I wish to thank all the contributors to this project, in particular to NIWA for carrying out the project, to the fishing industry for funding its production, to the NGO's who supported the concept through initial stages of development, and to MFish staff for overseeing the process.
Please enjoy the rest of your evening and join with me in celebrating the official release of the Guide.