BIBA-SEM! Socioeconomic monitoring in Micronesia: Reflections from the facilitators

By Supin Wongbusarakum

SEM_teamThis fall, I traveled to Guam to participate in an energizing Training-of-Trainers (ToT) workshop—for socioeconomic monitoring training—as one of three facilitators. The workshop brought together nine representatives from five countries[1], in Micronesia and Hawai‘i, and is the latest effort to provide socioeconomic data and information to support the Micronesia Challenge. The Micronesia Challenge is an agreement between these five countries to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. Understanding the social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics of these islands is critical to helping resource managers identify potential problems and opportunities, and focus management priorities[2].

Chief Gadao, a legendary chief of Inarajan, a historic village that we visited in southern Guam.

Chief Gadao, a legendary chief of Inarajan, a historic village that we visited in southern Guam.

The aim of this recent workshop was to build on many previous efforts, including two Socioeconomic Measures workshops conducted in 2012 and 2015, and funded through the generous support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), and Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance (MINA). These two previous workshops developed and tested a set of socioeconomic indicators for all Micronesia Challenge sites and established a regional core socioeconomic monitoring team. With this foundation and ongoing financial commitments from these partners, the recent workshop was the first opportunity to begin training this core monitoring team and building capacity at the Micronesian regional level.

Core SEM team members and facilitators discussed topics for next training workshop in 2016

Core SEM team members and facilitators discussed topics for next training workshop in 2016

We spent the first week deepening the team’s knowledge of socioeconomic monitoring (SEM) based on the guiding document, Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in Pacific Island Countries (commonly known as SEM-Pasifika[3]), which was developed and launched by NOAA and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in 2008. They also worked on planning sessions and practiced their training skills for a socioeconomic monitoring workshop that was conducted with local participants from Guam in the second week.

The trainers-in-training for socioeconomic monitoring in Micronesia include:
Angel Jonathan, Conservation Society of Pohnpei
Bertha Reyuw, Yap Community Action Program
Bond Segal, Kosrae Conservation Safety Organization
Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, MINA
Kriskitina Kanemoto, formerly with Chuuk Conservation Society
Mark Stege, Marshall Islands Conservation Society
Rachael Nash, Micronesia Challenge
Shirley Koshiba, Palau International Coral Reef Center
Erin Zanre, Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources

All three facilitators came away from this training with a renewed energy and commitment to strengthening socioeconomic monitoring efforts in the region and building capacity of the core team.

Here are my reflections on the workshop as well as those of my two co-facilitators, Brooke Nevitt and Marybelle Quinata.

Supin Wongbusarakum (NOAA PIFSC Ecosystem Sciences Division), “As a social scientist involved in developing guidelines for socioeconomic monitoring and assessing conservation impacts, I do not need convincing that socioeconomic monitoring helps us better plan, manage and conserve marine and coastal resources. The key question to me has not been the importance of SEM, but how we can strengthen and sustain it. After multiple years of SEM efforts in the region, we began to establish baseline data for different sites, some of which has already been used for better planning or management. However, we do not have real monitoring planned for the sites with baseline data and there has been little synergy and exchange across the islands. We needed to find a more strategic way to make the best use of our limited funding and human resources to grow and ensure the sustainability of SEM. One way to do this is to have a regional team committed to SEM efforts and hold strategic planning meetings that allow us to review what has happened and determine how best to move toward effective monitoring and sustainability. I am delighted to see a team forming and a Micronesia Challenge monitoring plan in development. As I learned from Brooke, a cheer in her language, Biba SEM!”

Brooke Nevitt (MINA) Coordinator for Micronesia Challenge Socioeconomic Monitoring, “We have a team! This is SO exciting! Two years ago, Supin came to me and said, ‘Brooke, I think we should try something different than the one-time trainings and assessments we lead around the region.’ And here we are. With representatives from each jurisdiction, we have the opportunity to really move socioeconomic monitoring forward. All of the team members agree that this work is necessary and critical. There is so much work still to be done. But, tackling it together with the support of Shirley, Mark, Kodep, Bond, Angel, Marybelle, Kris, and Bertha, we are making great strides forward. As we would say in the CNMI, Biba SEM! Biba SEM!

Marybelle Quinata (Pacific Islands Regional Office, NMFS, NOAA Guam Field Office), “Working with Supin, Brooke, and the rest of the team has been an exciting learning experience because all of us entered the socioeconomic realm under different circumstances with different professional backgrounds. However, one common factor that unites us is a commitment to our communities that rely on our islands’ natural resources, not just for survival but also to preserve our cultural heritage and identity as Pacific Islanders of Micronesia and the Marianas. During the SEM-Pasifika Workshop in Guam, trainers and trainers-in-training pushed their personal limits. We learned about our strengths, acknowledged our weaknesses, and helped one another improve as facilitators. As the first of its kind, this SEM-Pasifika workshop proved to be a unique learning experience that tested us as a team and also at an individual level. And just like our islands, our team has grown more resilient because of it. I look forward to increasing our knowledge, capabilities, and ambitions as the SEM Core Team Family! Biba!”

Core SEM team members with Guam participants and facilitators.

Core SEM team members with Guam participants and facilitators.

[1] The five Micronesia Challenge countries include Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall islands.

[2] Visit mircronesiachallenge.org to learn more about the Micronesia Challenge.

[3] A copy of the guiding document can be downloaded from the SocMon website.

Socioeconomic Monitoring for The Micronesia Challenge: Measuring Progress in Effective Conservation

By Supin Wongbusarakum

Traditional home in Yap, Micronesia.

The importance of socioeconomic monitoring for coastal management and conservation is becoming increasingly acknowledged around the world. Without understanding the impacts on people and communities that depend on natural resources, the effectiveness of conservation programs can easily be questioned. In the past decades, different tools and methods have been developed to help guide monitoring efforts.

Since its launch in 2007, by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in Pacific Island Countries (SEM-Pasifika) has been used to help develop capacity in designing and conducting SEM-Pasifika_coversocioeconomic assessments in many countries throughout the Pacific Islands. In Micronesia, NOAA social scientists have worked with multiple jurisdictional and regional partners to establish and strengthen socioeconomic monitoring efforts among the Micronesia Challenge countries: Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It is important to connect social, economic, and biological monitoring to accurately assess the progress of the Micronesia Challenge’s goal to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.

Sarigan Island in the Northern Marianas.

The Micronesia Challenge’s 2nd Socioeconomic Measures Workshop took place in Guam from June 10 to 12, 2015. Brooke Nevitt of the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Michael Lameier of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s Habitat Conservation Division, Berna Gorong of The Nature Conservancy, and Supin Wongbusarakum from the NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division served as co-facilitators and resource experts. The workshop brought together representatives from national, regional, and local government agencies with non-governmental organizations and potential funding agencies.

Participants in the Micronesia Challenge’s 2nd Socioeconomic Measures Workshop.

Participants in the Micronesia Challenge’s 2nd Socioeconomic Measures Workshop.

Workshop participants reviewed previous and current socioeconomic monitoring efforts in the region and then identified gaps and steps to improve and sustain monitoring at all levels in Micronesia. They also initiated a discussion on how to integrate socioeconomic and biological monitoring to better understand the impacts of conservation and natural resource management. To support their unanimous agreement on the importance of socioeconomic monitoring in the region, they established a “Core Micronesia Socioeconomic Monitoring Team” with representatives from all jurisdictions. The team will reconvene from September 21 to October 3, 2015 to further build the group’s social science knowledge and training skills and to initiate development of socioeconomic monitoring plans for selected sites in Micronesia.

Sulu-Sulawesi: A Seascape in the Heart of the Coral Triangle

By Supin Wongbusarakum
Bunaken National Marine Park is located near the center of the Coral Triangle region, north of Sulawesi island, Indonesia.

Bunaken National Marine Park is located near the center of the Coral Triangle region, north of Sulawesi island, Indonesia.

Map of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.  Image: Marine Conservation Institute (2014), MPAtlas [On-line]. Seattle, WA. Available at: www.mpatlas.org [Accessed (03/08/2015)].

Map of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.
Image: Marine Conservation Institute (2014), MPAtlas [On-line]. Seattle, WA. Available at: http://www.mpatlas.org [Accessed (03/08/2015)].

It is an interesting challenge to contemplate future plans for a vast blue seascape, bright with corals and teeming with fish, under florescent lights in a carpeted hotel meeting room in Manado, Indonesia. The Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape is a complex marine region in the heart of the Coral Triangle—one of the most biologically diverse and most threatened marine environments in the world. In high demand for fisheries and coastal resources, this region is complicated by the intersection of political and cultural boundaries between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. A clear plan for sustainable fisheries management is needed more than ever.

In early June, a multi-national team, brought together by the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), convened to formulate an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) plan for the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape that balances ecological health and human well-being through good governance.

Participants in the 2015 CTI-CFF Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape EAFM Implementation Planning Meeting.

Participants in the 2015 CTI-CFF Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape EAFM Implementation Planning Meeting.

Rusty Brainard and Supin Wongbusarakum from the NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), Angelina Stella and Paige Casey from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, and Bob Pomeroy from the University of Connecticut Sea Grant Program, served as facilitators and resource experts at the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape EAFM Implementation Planning Meeting from June 2-5, 2015.

Rusty Brainard provides an overview of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).

Rusty Brainard provides an overview of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).

Working with senior fisheries officers, monitoring, control, and surveillance leads from the Philippines and Indonesia, EAFM experts, representatives from a regional project funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and other Coral Triangle partners, the team agreed on a vision for the future of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape: By 2035, the Sulu-Sulawesi is a marine eco-region that is ecologically healthy and delivers ecosystem services that provide equitable socio-economic and cultural benefits through generations, by collaborative and sustainable fisheries management across all political and cultural boundaries.

To tackle the key issues on unsustainable exploitation of fisheries, largely due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and habitat loss, the participants identified specific goals for each of the three components of an EAFM: Human Well-being (Socioeconomic), Ecological Well-being, and Good Governance.

Supin Wongbusarakum leads a discussion on linking ecological, socioeconomic, and governance goals.

Supin Wongbusarakum facilitates discussions on objectives, indicators, and management activities to meet the Human Well-being (Socioeconomic) Goal.

Human Well-being (Socioeconomic) Goal:
– Resilient and self-reliant coastal communities through sustainable livelihoods and equitable access to resources and basic social services.

Ecological Well-being Goals:
– Sustainable fisheries and other living marine resources, starting with small pelagic fisheries and expanding to other fisheries at a later time.
– Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape marine waters and habitats are healthy for fishery resources especially in the face of global climate change.

Good Governance Goal:
– Improved ecosystem approach to managing fishery resources through effective governance mechanisms and operational implementation (including capacity building) and enforcement of regulations, national and transboundary, including prosecution.

By following the EAFM planning process, the group established clear objectives, indicators, and management actions as well as identified opportunities, constraints, and key stakeholders for each of the above goals. In closing, the international participants agreed to bring the draft EAFM plan to their country’s stakeholders for internal review.

The workshop concluded with a positive outlook and willingness from all the parties to continue actively working together. The group will reconvene in the fall to complete the draft EAFM plan and begin implementation—helping to ensure sustainable fisheries in a complex and ecologically important marine region.

Bubbles or not, here we come!

By Andrew Gray
Andrew Gray pre-breathes to prepare his rebreather for five minutes prior to entering the water for a Stationary Point Count fish survey dive.

Andrew Gray pre-breathes to prepare his rebreather for five minutes prior to entering the water for a Stationary Point Count (SPC) fish survey dive.

Something was different on the recent PIFSC Main Hawaiian Islands Reef Fish Survey cruise led by the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED). In addition to the usual scuba surveys conducted by scientists, the small boats also deployed scientific divers that resembled a species of bionic frogmen. Instead of scuba, these divers used closed circuit rebreathers (CCR), and while it may look like they were a bit overdressed for the occasion, there was a good reason for it.

When conventional open circuit scuba divers take a breath of air from the tanks on their backs, they exhale it into the surrounding water and create a burst of bubbles containing CO2, residual oxygen not metabolized by the body, and nitrogen, an inert gas. Closed circuit rebreathers (or just rebreathers) are a specialized type of dive equipment that removes the CO2 and re-uses the exhaled oxygen. The diver breathes from a “loop” of gas where CO2 is removed from the exhaled gas by a chemical filter called a “scrubber.” Three oxygen sensors analyze the gas and a computer-controlled solenoid adds additional oxygen to replenish oxygen metabolized by the diver or add more oxygen when specified by the diver. Rebreathers include two small tanks of gas, one of pure oxygen and a second of a gas to dilute the oxygen called the diluent, usually air for depths less than 130 feet.

Closed circuit rebreather (CCR) diver Ray Boland poses with open circuit diver Kristin Golman despite her loud and annoying exhales.

Closed circuit rebreather (CCR) diver Ray Boland poses with open circuit diver Kristin Golman despite her loud and annoying exhales.

This equipment has a number of benefits over conventional scuba. The efficient use (and re-use) of gas allows divers to stay underwater much longer without having to bring an excessive number of tanks. Since the rebreather is mixing an ideal nitrox gas mix for whatever depth the diver is at, rebreather divers can have much longer no-decompression dive times when compared with conventional scuba divers at the same depth. Also, because no air is released into surrounding water, there are no bubbles or noisy exhalations—and that is exactly why we are using them.

It’s understood that visual fish surveys may be prone to certain biases. One of which is that fish behavior may be altered by the presence of a diver in the water. Some fish species may be attracted to the diver, others afraid. In areas where spearfishing is common, targeted fishes likely react to divers very differently than in areas where fishing does not occur. The CRED fish team specializes in conducting Stationary Point Count (SPC) visual fish surveys, which have always been conducted on open circuit scuba. But what effect do the noisy, conspicuous bubbles produced by scientific divers using scuba have on our fish counts and biomass estimates? By using closed circuit rebreathers we can replace the blaring bubble machines with silent divers.

Diving on closed circuit rebreather, Kosta Stamoulis encounters a manta ray (Manta birostris) while conducting a Stationary Point Count visual fish surveys

Diving on closed circuit rebreather, Kosta Stamoulis encounters a manta ray (Manta birostris) during a SPC visual fish survey.

So that’s where the “bionic frogmen” come in. On the recently completed research cruise, CRED and partners conducted stationary point count visual fish surveys throughout the main Hawaiian Islands using both open circuit scuba and closed circuit rebreathers to compare results. Would we record more fish when using the less obtrusive rebreathers? Would we see more of the fish species targeted by fisheries when using rebreathers and the same amount of other smaller non-fished species like butterflyfish and damselfish? Surely we’d see the same number of hawkfish, those small wary fish perched on top of coral heads. Right? Well, we are only about halfway through our comparison study so it’s too early to say just yet, but preliminary results suggest that we are seeing some differences when using rebreathers and not always what we expected. We hope to work up the results in a scientific paper later this year.

Ray Boland meticulously preps his Inspiration rebreather prior to conducting an SPC survey.

Ray Boland meticulously preps his Inspiration rebreather prior to conducting an SPC survey.

If open circuit diving is so obtrusive, why don’t all scientific divers switch to using rebreathers? Because there are some disadvantages to diving with rebreathers which can make life difficult when conducting hundreds or thousands of surveys each year. For one, rebreathers are heavy and bulky, even for me, a 190-pound 6’2” guy. After coercing your body into the 65-pound rebreather and clipping on another 15-pound bailout tank, regular scuba gear feels like floating on a fistful of helium balloons. You also have to deal with much longer setup and breakdown times, more pre-dive preparation and buddy checks, and significantly more expensive gear and consumables. Rather than have everyone switch to rebreather, we are more interested in understanding any differences in fish biomass between open circuit scuba surveys and rebreather surveys. For now, rebreathers are another interesting tool we can use to help monitor and assess reef fish populations around the Hawaiian Islands and U.S. territories in the Pacific Ocean.

Counting Fish: Bubbles or Not? Expedition underway to assess reef fish populations in the Main Hawaiian Islands

From June 14 to July 3, 2015, the NOAA Ship Hi‘ialakai will be the platform for a research cruise to gather data and improve assessments of the status of coral reef fish populations in the main Hawaiian Islands. Led by project leader, Kevin Lino, and lead scientist, Ivor Williams, of the NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), the cruise is a multi-agency effort, involving participants from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, State of Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources, and the University of Hawai‘i.

A school of unicornfish (Naso unicornis) swarm in the coral reefs off the coast of Maui. NOAA photo by Kevin Lino.

A school of unicornfish (Naso unicornis) swarm in the coral reefs off the coast of Maui. NOAA photo by Kevin Lino.

During the 20-day expedition, scientists plan to conduct approximately 300 underwater visual surveys of reef fishes and habitat, with sites spread widely across coral reef areas in all of the populated Hawaiian Islands, from the Big Island of Hawai‘i to Ni‘ihau. The survey methods and sampling design used for the cruise are consistent with those implemented for NOAA’s existing long-term coral reef monitoring program in the U.S. Pacific, which allows multiple data sets to be readily combined and easily compared.

Scientists survey fish populations using the "Stationary Point Count" method, in which pairs of divers record the number, size, and species of all fishes observed within adjacent visually estimated cylinders 15 meters in diameter. NOAA photo by Paula Ayotte.

Scientists survey fish populations using the “Stationary Point Count” method, in which pairs of divers record the number, size, and species of all fishes observed within adjacent visually estimated cylinders 15 meters in diameter. NOAA photo by Paula Ayotte.

These survey efforts are primarily designed to improve the ability of PIFSC and partners to generate an accurate picture of the status and trends of coral reef fishes around the Hawaiian Islands, but because the overall dataset is highly consistent and widely representative of reef areas across the region, it is suitable for multiple purposes and is being increasingly used for large-scale scientific research by NOAA and external researchers.

Divers conduct surveys from small boats launched from the NOAA Ship Hiʻialakai.

Divers conduct surveys from small boats launched from the NOAA Ship Hiʻialakai.

One project that will be investigated during the cruise will be to compare fish counts gathered by divers on closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) with fish counts by divers using SCUBA. Because divers on CCR do not produce bubbles, they are much quieter and a less intrusive presence in the marine environment. Therefore, it is possible that use of CCR may enable divers to get better information on marine species that are wary of divers.

As with all data collected by NOAA, any information gathered during the cruise will be available on request. All coral reef survey data sets, compiled and analyzed by CRED staff and project partners, are routinely reported in post-cruise monitoring briefs and annual data reports.

Seafloor Mapping Mission Part 2: Hawai‘i Island

By John Rooney
A coral reef typical of those we found off West Hawai‘i.

A coral reef typical of those we found off West Hawai‘i.

A coral reef with the long thin branches of Porities compressa coral that often host numerous reef fish. Note the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) near the bottom of the photo.

A coral reef with the long thin branches of Porities compressa coral that often host numerous reef fish. Note the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) near the bottom of the photo.

Our seafloor mapping mission began in early May with underwater video and photographic surveys of coral reef habitats along the shores of West Maui, as documented in Seafloor Mapping Mission: Maui. The second part of this mission, led by a team of scientists from the NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), was to conduct these underwater mapping surveys along the coast of West Hawai‘i.

This specific region off the coast of Hawai‘i Island has been identified as priority site for research and management by the State of Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources, and the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), and is within the boundaries of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. It is also a NOAA Habitat Blueprint focus area and funding for this work was provided by both the Habitat Blueprint program and CRCP.

M/V Koholā outbound from south basin, Kawaihae Harbor for a day of seafloor surveying off West Hawai‘i.

M/V Koholā outbound from south basin, Kawaihae Harbor for a day of seafloor surveying off West Hawai‘i.

The original plan was to transit directly from Maui to Hawai‘i Island, however, rough and dangerous conditions in the Alenuihaha Channel between the two islands made it impossible. Once weather conditions improved, the team returned to the Big Island to continue the mission. The Hawai‘i Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation graciously provided a slip for us in Kawaihae Harbor on the northwest side of Hawai‘i Island.

The first day, CRED team members John Rooney, Rhonda Suka, and LTJG Kristin Golmon set up and tested gear to prepare for an early start the next day. The following morning, we started towing the underwater camera sled system to survey coral reef ecosystems along the approximately 18 miles of coastline stretching from Kawaihae to the southwest. The photographs and videos revealed reefs growing on basalt (volcanic rock) often with dense and diverse coral communities. Toward the northern end of the survey area, we discovered reefs with an abundance of Porities compressa or “finger coral” forming reefs that are more porous than most in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The Porities compressa reefs appear to be a preferred habitat for numerous reef fish that shelter within their branches.

The whale shark inspecting the TOAD camera sled cable and pot hauler used to deploy it.

The whale shark inspecting the TOAD camera sled cable and pot hauler used to deploy it.

The whale shark and Dr. Rooney exchange a close look.

The whale shark and Dr. Rooney exchange a close look.

One highlight of our trip was an unexpected visit from a juvenile whale shark that swam up to side of the ship while we were towing the camera sled. We estimated that she was about 11 feet long and, apparently, very curious. She circled around the boat, checking out our camera set-up and the people onboard. She also enjoyed hanging out behind the starboard engine to bask in the wash of water coming off the propeller. We were concerned that she might swim into it, but the winds and seas were calm and she never got too close.

Despite being a shark, whale sharks are actually filter feeders like whales, gulping in water and filtering it out, to feed on plankton, macro-algae, larvae, small squids, and fishes. We assume that, being a filter feeder, she was positioning herself in areas of strong current, in this case created by the propeller wash, to draw in the most seawater for feeding. Never having seen a whale shark in the wild before, those of us on the M/V Koholā felt lucky to be aboard that day.

The TNC workskiff M/V Kākū.

The TNC workskiff M/V Kākū.

The next portion of our mission continued aboard a smaller vessel, the M/V Kākū, a 21 ft workskiff that was generously provided by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Hawai‘i. This aluminum vessel is well-designed for coastal work and suited our needs admirably. TNC was also kind enough to provide expert captains Hank Lynch and Chad Wiggins, who not only operated the boat, but helped maintain our logbooks and assisted throughout each survey day.

Because the Kākū lacked the enclosed cabin space required to protect topside electronics, we were unable to use our standard Towed Optical Assessment Device (“TOAD”) camera sled. Fortunately, colleagues from NOAA PIFSC were kind enough to loan us another camera system. Rhonda Suka rigged together a Deep Blue SplashCam system with a GoPro camera in a waterproof housing, two LED lights in their own housings, and a pair of lasers mounted in parallel to provide scaling information.

The SpashCam/GoPro camera system.

The SpashCam/GoPro camera system.

The SplashCam provided a real-time video feed from the seafloor and the GoPro collected still photos that will be used to classify the different types of seafloor and variety organisms growing on it. Although lacking many of the capabilities of the larger TOAD camera sled system, the SpashCam/GoPro combination allowed us to continue to operate and the use of the smaller M/V Kākū enabled us to work closer to shore.

We would like to extend our thanks to the numerous partners who assisted with the survey or provided existing seafloor imagery, as well as the survey team and boat captains. This two-part mapping mission resulted in two excellent datasets that will produce maps of coral reefs and other seafloor features. These maps will help resource managers plan and monitor results of mitigation activities they undertake to improve the health of coral reef ecosystems.