Mysteries of the deep mapped

Cutting edge mapping of Tōtaranui /Queen Charlotte Sound seabed will provide new insights into the region’s marine environment, says Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage.

“Nearly 44 hectares of seabed data from the region is now available on request to help scientists, boaties, government agencies, and the public better understand the Sound’s marine environment and physical features within these iconic waters,” said Eugenie Sage.

“Queen Charlotte Sound is a very important area for marine farming, a major navigational channel for ferries, cruise ships and recreational boaties, and has dramatic coastal landscapes yet relatively little is known about the region’s underwater marine environment.”

 “The recently completed seabed survey of Tōtaranui /Queen Charlotte Sound is the first in nearly 80 years. This is the most comprehensive seabed survey done in New Zealand because it captures the interests of many different audiences, not just mariners.

 “Unlike previous surveys, this survey provides 3D images, and even motion pictures, of marine habitats, rock reefs, ocean currents and other features that make up the marine environment and ecosystems.  It will help improve management of our precious marine environment,” Eugenie Sage said.

 “Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Marlborough District Council and NIWA, who led the project, ran an inclusive approach to developing the survey, consulting with scientists, local iwi – Te Atiawa – and others about what they wanted the data gathering to focus on.

 “I want this more inclusive approach to mapping our seabed and coastlines to become the new status quo – the marine industry, the scientific community and government all working together to better understand our marine environment.”

 The project cost just over $3 million and was split between LINZ ($1.68m) and the Marlborough District Council ($1.5m)

 The existing charts in use in the area were completed in 1942.

 The full survey will shortly be made available via LINZ’s online data portal – the LINZ Data Service.