Our 12-14 day expedition will collect microplastics and biosecurity data in the Hauraki Gulf & Islands areas and Whangarei, whilst exploring the wider marine environment of coastal Greater Auckland and Northland. This interdisciplinary oceanic research expedition aims to inspire and engage the public and educate people about the importance of working collaboratively to preserve a healthy ocean.
On 10 November 2020 the entire Biosecurity Toolbox programme team got together for our first Annual Programme Day. The objective for this event was to review and share achievements made across all work streams, discuss challenges and opportunities and further strengthen the programme’s team spirit.
The meeting took place at Cawthron’s Aquaculture Park near Nelson and was attended by 48 programme partners and supporting end-user delegates from Scion Research, Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust, Cawthron, Deakin University, University of Otago, Macquarie University, Durham University, Northland Regional Council, Auckland Council, Marlborough District Council, Waikato Regional Council, Biosecurity New Zealand, Nelson College, Aquaculture New Zealand, Department of Conservation and Northport.
After a karakia and a quick round of introductions we enjoyed research updates from the various work streams, followed by focused discussions around our collective plans for the second programme year, and opportunities for integration of key programme activities (such as economic modelling and Vision Mātauranga). One of the highlights of the day was an interactive quiz centered around our programme team and research activities. After 16 challenging (and often entertaining) questions Melissa Welsh, Abe Growcott and Eric Treml emerged as the clear winners, taking out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively, and were presented with the prestigious 2020 Biosecurity Toolbox awards.
On the following day, programme representatives met with the Advisory and Implementation Group for the Biosecurity Toolbox (comprising representatives from local and central government, maritime industry and Māori) to collectively discuss the direction of the programme’s planned research activities and avenues for end-user support with implementation and impact. The programme team received many valuable comments and advice from end-users, as well as offers to support our research activities by facilitating access to field sites, datasets and other useful resources.
The overall event ended on a highly positive note and we all look forward to getting together again in 2021 to celebrate progress and achievements.