BY Ryan Swift on 14 Jun 2023

Yacht and superyacht owners who may be in the South Pacific are invited to participate in marine research programmes

The International SeaKeepers Society, a global charity that pairs cruising yachts and superyachts with marine scientists and research projects, has announced an expansion of its activities and programmes in the South Pacific. The Society is looking for vessels to participate in scientific expeditions in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, with more opportunities available in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, French Polynesia and other South Pacific Islands.

In New Zealand, yachts and their owners are invited to work with Manta Watch New Zealand on an expedition to tag and identify manta and devil rays in preparation for research initiatives. Manta Watch New Zealand is seeking access to key places in the Hauraki Gulf and Great Exhibition Bay.

Read: Research Manta Rays on Your Own Yacht

The Society is also looking for a yacht to work with Conservation International – New Zealand and Dr. Mark Erdmann, an expert on the management of marine protected areas. In addition to working with Manta Watch on tagging rays, there is also a study of white sharks in the Auckland Islands.

An aerial view of the Lau Islands shoreline in Fiji

In Fiji, Conservation International and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA) are working together to create a comprehensive approach to marine conservation by conducting research and fostering local stewardship. The aim is to protect the biodiversity of the Lau Islands.

In Australia, participating yachts can help with Project Manta. This programme, established in 2007, does research to better understand manta rays in Australian waters. Noteworthy discoveries include the longest recorded movement of a reef manta ray and the world’s only known pink manta ray.

They seek citizen scientists to report manta ray sightings, providing GPS locations and potentially capturing belly shots for photo ID work. Moreover, researchers are invited to join summer voyages in far north Queensland, Solitary Island Marine Park, and New South Wales, enabling tagging and genetic sampling.

Yacht owners who will be cruising in the South Pacific are invited to join through the SeaKeepers Discovery Yacht Program, which lets owners, crew and captains participate in vital marine research. Applications to join the Discovery Yacht Program can be made here

The largest expense that marine researchers face for their work is access to a vessel. Using its members’ yachts, SeaKeepers works with marine scientists to conduct research.