UVNSW is a coalition of community organisations provided with adequate training, quality assurance and quality control procedures to provide government agencies charged with managing NSW’s marine environment with reliable data to inform management decisions that will be used to ameliorate some of the problems discussed above. The activities undertaken by UVNSW members develop a sense of stewardship in their ‘local patch’ and through their actions aims to raise community awareness of marine conservation issues along the increasingly urbanised NSW coastline.
The Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority, working with the National Marine Science Centre, Southern Cross University, provided seed funding for UVNSW. A steering committee was initially convened for a period of three years to oversee the development of activities. UVNSW is comprised of representatives from community organisations, government agencies and staff from the National Marine Science Centre.
Current community groups include:
- Byron Underwater Research Group (BURG)
- Solitary Islands Underwater Research Group (SURG)
- Port Macquarie Underwater Research Group (PURG)
- Great Lakes Underwater Group (GLUG)
- Combined Hunter Underwater Group (CHUG)
- Terrigal Underwater Group (TUG)
- Underwater Research Group of NSW (URG)
- Eco Divers
- Jervis Bay Dive Club (JBDC)
- Nature Coast Marine Group (NCMG)
- Sapphire Coast Underwater Research Group (SCURG)
(Map provided by NSW Parks and Wildlife Service - adatpted to indicate locations of UVGs)
Government agencies include represenatives from NSW Government Local Land Services – Northern Rivers, Hunter, Greater Sydney and South East, and the NSW Marine Parks Authority.
Academics from a number of tertiary institutions including Southern Cross University, the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney have provided valuable input.
Groups are autonomous entities and whilst they may use the protocols developed under the banner of UVNSW they are also encouraged to pursue activities that have a local focus. UVNSW does not mandate what activities groups undertake, but rather provides a vehicle for groups wanting to conduct specific monitoring and assessment activities