Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre, Lake Taupo


Brent McFadden

TEL: 0274344874 



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Serena Cox

Serena is a Marine Scientist with NIWA, specialising in marine biosecurity, vessel biofouling and marine invasive species.  She is also a Regional Dive Safety Officer, Scientific Diver (ADAS Part 1) and Instructor with NIWA. Serena has played a big role in designing the scientific diver training course at NIWA, the review of the NIWA Scientific Diving Code of Practise, and was involved in the AS/NZ Occupational Diving Standards review.


Serena qualified with a NAUI Openwater scuba diving certification in 1994 but her diving career reached new levels in 2009 when she trained as a scientific diver and began training with GUE.  Serena holds certificates in GUE Fundamentals, GUE Technical Diver Level 1 (trimix), TDI Advanced Nitrox and Deco, TDI Nitrox blender and Oxygen Service Technician, and GUE Gas Blender.


In her spare time, Serena enjoys dive missions and she is the 2IC of Ghost Fishing NZ. Most weekends she can be found  zipping all around Wellington on her Suex dive scooter, being the subject of underwater photos taken by the infamous Rob Wilson of Frontline Photography, or running clean-up events in Wellington with Ghost Fishing (and Rob Wilson!).

Serena’s involvement with Ghost Fishing is primarily as the Scuba Team Leader and is the ‘mud monkey’ of the team, with her occupational experience working in low viz, silty diving environments.  Being a Marine Scientist, Serena is passionate about the marine environment and protection of this unique and valuable resource for future generations, including her diver-in training 4 year old daughter.  Serena’s involvement with GFNZ began in 2016 when she assisted Rob with a clean-up dive in Wellington.  She was hooked.  After witnessing first hand, the extent of litter and debris under the water, she has dedicated hours of her time voluntarily, to supporting GFNZ and organising and participating in events.

Her role within GFNZ is integral in ensuring all event participants are kept safe and the diving logistics are planned and executed with military precision!  Serena’s background in designing, planning and running scientific diving projects has given her a unique skill set which has direct application for GFNZ.  Health and safety is paramount at the clean-up events and Serena works hard with the GFNZ team to keep the events running smoothly and safely.

Ghost Fishing New Zealand

Ghost Fishing NZ is a 100% voluntary organisation, passionate about conservation, education and exploration.  Every month, members of the team organise clean-up events all around the Wellington Region (and nationally), removing literally hundreds of kilos of rubbish from the marine environment.  The events rely primarily on scuba teams to remove debris from the ocean floor, free diving teams to provide in-water dive support, and dedicated shore crews to sort rubbish, remove critters and educate the public about the problem we face in NZ with marine pollution.  Over the last couple of years, GFNZ has gained massive public support and outreach. 

This presentation will introduce Ghost Fishing and why we do what we do, who we are and will highlight some of the clean-up efforts we have successfully completed.

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