We­b­cams eyes on Ka¯ piti re­serve

Kapiti News - - News -

More high-tech we­b­cams will be de­ployed to mon­i­tor the Ka¯ piti Marine Re­serve.

At the for­mal launch of the first we­b­cam last week, the United States Em­bassy in Welling­ton an­nounced it would do­nate $10,600 to en­able a sec­ond and a third cam­era to keep an eye on the re­serve.

The we­b­cam ini­tia­tive has been spear­headed by the Guardians of Ka¯ piti Marine Re­serve (the Guardians) with as­sis­tance from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (DoC).

Guardians chair­man Ben Knight said the col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­clud­ing with the em­bassy who has funded the ini­tia­tive, has en­abled a cut­ting-edge tool to be de­ployed to pro­tect one of New Zealand’s largest and old­est marine re­serves.

“Ka¯ piti marine re­serve is the hid­den jewel in the Ka¯ piti Is­land crown and is a na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant marine taonga.

“The re­serve is host to an in­cred­i­ble ar­ray of in­dige­nous marine life and con­tin­ues to play an im­por­tant role in re­build­ing the heav­ily de­pleted fish stocks out­side of the pro­tected area through spillover of ma­ture fish and fish lar­vae.

“It pro­vides im­por­tant ben­e­fits to recre­ational, com­mer­cial and cus­tom­ary fishers.

“It is there­fore vi­tally im­por­tant that this na­tional trea­sure is prop­erly pro­tected so that cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can en­joy the ben­e­fits it pro­vides.

The we­b­cam project was a scal­able, high-tech so­lu­tion to the age-old prob­lem of il­le­gal fish­ing, he said.

“We be­lieve it will act as a se­ri­ous de­ter­rent to poach­ers and will en­able a more tar­geted ap­proach taken to the com­pli­ance and law en­force­ment ef­fort. The we­b­cam also has many other uses in­clud­ing search and res­cue, tourism, en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing and fish­eries re­search.”

Mr Knight said dur­ing the past six month test­ing phase, the cam­era has al­ready been widely used by lo­cal boat­ies and divers to check con­di­tions be­fore they head out for a day on the water.

“It’s an awe­some multi-tool with many ben­e­fits to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the Guardians are proud to have led the de­vel­op­ment of the project.”

In­stalled at the north end of the is­land, the cam­era over­looks the ‘Hole in the Rock’, a pop­u­lar site which is hard to view from the main­land or DoC’s is­land base.

DoC’s Ka¯ piti Welling­ton op­er­a­tions man­ager Jack Mace said the we­b­cam was “ex­cit­ing for our rangers as it pro­vides an ex­tremely high-qual­ity pic­ture.

“From DoC’s per­spec­tive, de­ter­ring po­ten­tial of­fend­ers is a far bet­ter use of re­sources than try­ing to catch them in the act.”

Re­ports of sus­pected il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­ity in Ka¯ piti Marine Re­serve have been de­clin­ing af­ter a peak last year.

Mr Mace said this was be­cause of the very good work the Guardians have done in rais­ing the pro­file of the re­serve with lo­cals and in the me­dia.

“Through their pas­sion and tech­no­log­i­cal know-how, mem­bers of the Guardians pro­posed the web cam­era project to DoC. We could see the ben­e­fits of this cam­era and sup­ported it whole­heart­edly.

“We are very grate­ful for the fund­ing op­por­tu­nity from the United States Em­bassy.”

The United States Deputy Chief of Mis­sion, Su­san Ni­block, said the em­bassy wel­comed ef­forts in the Pa­cific re­gion to en­hance in­for­ma­tion shar­ing on se­cu­rity and law en­force­ment con­cerns to com­bat il­le­gal, un­re­ported and un­reg­u­lated fish­ing.

“Fish­eries are the lifeblood of Pa­cific is­land economies and a cor­ner­stone of US-Pa­cific co­op­er­a­tion. I’m proud to cel­e­brate what our em­bassy’s sup­port has been able to ac­com­plish with these won­der­ful part­ners, who share our val­ues and recog­nise the im­por­tance of con­ser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion when it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment.”

PHOTO / LEE BARRY

Guardians of Ka¯ piti Marine Re­serve chair­man Ben Knight, left, daugh­ter Joy Knight and me­dia at the Ka¯ piti Is­land web cam­era site.

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