Focus on protecting marine environment

A variety of events, from building homes for blue penguins to cleaning up rubbish, are planned in Dunedin during the 21st anniversary of Seaweek.

Starting tomorrow, this year's Seaweek theme is ‘‘One Ocean - It starts with me'' and will focus on ways people can be involved in protecting the marine environment.

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick will launch the week when she attends the groundbreaking theatre production Perils of the Deep Blue Sea in Auckland, featuring a juvenile Maui's dolphin.

Dunedin organiser Department of Conservation coastal Otago programme manager David Mules said Seaweek was a great opportunity to highlight what was great about Otago's coastline and remind people about the need to protect and preserve it.

Last year, the successful Great Dunedin Coastal Clean-up Competition was introduced. This will be repeated on Sunday, March 9, at Hancock Park.

‘‘The real winner was our beaches, harbour and estuaries, having shed that amount of rubbish. We look forward to the same amount of participation this year, over the area from Waikouaiti to Taieri Mouth. Maybe, though, there'll be less rubbish''.

Opening the week in Dunedin would be the Take a Kid Surfing Day on Sunday at St Clair beach.

The other symbol of Seaweek was the blue penguin (korora). The St Kilda Marine Environment Trust was looking for people to construct nesting boxes for the Tomahawk area on March 8.

There would also be a range of activities at the Portobello Aquarium, including the Little Blue Penguin Game and helping with fish feeding.

Seaweek is led nationally by the New Zealand Association of Environmental Educators, in conjunction with the Conservation Department, Ministry of Fisheries, St Kilda Trust and the Ministry for the Environment.

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