Kristin Busher from the Waiheke Resources Trust and Carys Templer from the Waiheke Marine Project are excited for the opportunities the funding will provide. Photo Olivia Walker

The Waiheke Marine Project and Waiheke Resources Trust received funding grants of $12,500 each from the Auckland Council Planning, Environment and Parks Committee on Thursday 8 December.

The marine project will use the grant to help fund their regenerative dive programme. Last year 21 people completed it. This year the group has budgeted for 28 divers to undertake PADI-certified scuba and refresher courses. Dive training has two purposes. One component is training in scuba and snorkelling or free diving. The second is using those skills for regenerative activities. The training also goes towards helping kelp gardeners and the organisation’s yearly survey of crayfish.

Anjilla Webb is the regenerative dive co-ordinator for the programme and says the biggest contribution is accurate reporting of what’s happening underwater. “We make sure we report back on debris, culling of the kina [and] make sure the kina goes back to mana whenua.”

Miranda Cassidy-O’Connell has been involved in the Waiheke Marine Project since it was created nearly four years ago. Waiheke Marine Project divers are working with the Ministry of Primary Industries’ marine biosecurity arm to keep an eye out for invasive Caulerpa seaweed, which has appeared in parts of Aotea/Great Barrier’s coastline, and ensure it doesn’t spread here. • Olivia Walker

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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