Within MESA and the NZ Association for Environmental Education we are still applying for money from the Sustainable Management Fund towards Seaweek. While you might ask how that relates to divers, part of the proposal for developing a marine biodiversity awareness kit involves the use of that kit in diver education programmes (PADI, SSI etc). At present it is optional for trainee divers to learn about the ecosystems they are diving in, via a separate environmental training module. Our contention is that this training should be an integral part of obtaining open water dive certification, no matter what system people go through. We are seeking the same integration in basic boatie training, through courses such as Day Skipper and Boatmaster. Clearly there is not much point in diving or fishing if there is nothing left to look at or fish for – hence the reason for learning about the basics of marine environmental protection.
Finally, thereâs a lot of work being done at the moment on marine sustainability, through reviews of the Marine Reserves Act and recreational fishing regulations and development of the Oceans Policy. If you have a chance to be involved in any of these discussions, make the most of it to both have your say and potentially learn more about what these efforts mean. There is nothing worse than having changes occur which may affect you but which you feel you know little about. Information is available from DoC (marine reserves), the Ministry of Fisheries (recreational fishing) and the Ministry for the Environment (Oceans Policy).