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National Marine NRM News

November 2018
In This Edition:


 Australian Government releases National Plan of Action for Minimising Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Australian Capture Fisheries

Australia's National Plan of Action for Minimising Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Capture Fisheries was released on the 24th October.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, said "it's important that we maintain trust among Australian & international consumers, and manage our fisheries with minimal impact on the natural environment - including seabirds". The  plan can be viewed here.

OceanWatch Master Fishermen Program hits the Hawkesbury River

10 enthusiastic professional fishermen participated in OceanWatch Master Fisherman responsible fisheries training on the 27th & 28th October. 

Professional fishermen were engaged in open discussion on numerous topics including community awareness and perception, engaging with the community and seafood consumers, fisheries habitat, fisheries management and research, best practice quality assurance and seafood grading, animal welfare, bycatch reduction devices and techniques, indigenous fishing and cultural practices, workplace health and safety, marine pests, waste and pollution and key industry contacts.

Congratulations to Adam Delacey, Hayden Delacy, Robert Ford, Ricky Howard, Joe Bagnato, Gary Howard, Ross Bagnato, David Tansey, Vince Bagnato and Troy Ireland - for their successful completion of the program and individual recognition as an OceanWatch Master Fisherman.

Get Involved

Survey - Outboard Engine Ownership
OceanWatch is collecting (anonymous) information on outboard engine ownership. Legislation next year will encourage uptake of 4 stroke engines based on cleaner emissions. We are keen to understand current usage and test for future incentives. Can you help us by indicating the outboard(s) you own? Take this very short survey here.


Perceptions of Marine Debris in NSW 
The NSW EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) is carrying out research with people who use the marine environment. They want to understand how people act & think about marine debris in those environments, and what you think are the key issues. The research will inform the EPA's litter prevention program, and the NSW Government's development of a state-wide marine litter / debris education campaign. Group discussions will be held: 
  • Tues. 27th Nov - Sydney 
  • Wed. 5th Dec - Nowra
  • Fri. 7th Dec - Coffs Harbour
Confirm you attendence by Thurs. 15th November to Elissa Bishop via email

National Survey Recreational Fishing for Gamefish Species 
The Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS) is undertaking a national survey to better understand recreational fishing for gamefish species - particularly Southern Bluefin Tuna, and other large tuna & billfish. The survey will be undertaken in SA, VIC, TAS, & NSW using a variety of methods. Click here for more information.


Free Training for Coastal Volunteers in Victoria 
Coastcare is offering free training for volunteers to increase their capacity to manage public areas. There are 2 training opportunities, at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research in Heidelberg. 
  1. Successful Grant Writing Workshop - Mon. 3rd December. Click here for more information.
  2. Strategic Planning for Volunteer Groups - Tues. 4th December. Click here for more information.
The training will also be held at various locations across Victoria, including Warrnambool, Geelong, Melbourne & Gippsland and in 2 blocks - Nov/Dec 2018, and Mar/Apr 2019. 

Biosecurity Hero Nominations 
Awards to recognise biosecurity heroes now open! You can nominate individuals & buisnesses who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of Australia's $60 billion-a-year agricultural industrials and the health of our animals, plants & people. Nominations are open until Friday 9th Nov. Find out more details here.


Focus of the International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC) 
The IPBC brings together governments, research institutions and NGO's who are collaborating to enhance understanding of coastal blue carbon ecosystems. They are coordinating efforts to increase the capacity of governments and their partners to develop and implement policies and projects. The IPBC is undertaking a short survey to hear your opinion on where the Partnership shoud focus efforts over the next 12 months. The survey closes 8th November, and can be completed here.


Feedback on Fish Names Standard & Process 
The FRDC Fish Names Committee has been established to undertake the maintenance and continuous improvement of the Australian Fish Names Standard (AS 5300) and is supported by funding from the FRDC on behalf of the Australian Government. The Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) and the Fish Names Committee are seeking input from stakeholders about the benefits, challenges, and industry requirements of the Australian Fish Names Standard and the associated fish names processes. The survey is anonymous unless you voluntarily provide your contact information. You can complete the survey here.


National Carp Survey 
CARPMAP is an online survey tool to support community surveillance of carp aggregations. The National Carp Control Plan is seeking information on when and where carp aggregate (ie. 10 carp or more schooling together is considered an aggregation). Can you help? Complete the survey here.


SESSF Fishing Gear Audit 
Commonwealth fishers in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) are being asked to complete an audit of their fishing gear.  The audit will help understand how fishing capacity has changed over time and may even help with the stock assessment process. All SESSF fishers completing a 10-minute valid survey will be offered a BWS voucher (one per vessel!). Take the survey here.

In The News

Ian Kiernan, founder of Clean Up Australia, dies aged 78

Ian Kiernen, co-founder of Clean Up Australia, has died after a brief battle with cancer. 

Clean Up Australia said its founder's guidance and humour would be missed but "it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues. Ian believed that Clean Up belongs to the millions of volunteers who have taken to their streets, beaches, parks, bushland and waterways to remove the rubbish that is bothering them", the organisation said in a statement. Read more here.

OceanWatch had the pleasure of Ian’s company at the March 2017 clean-up around Sydney Harbour with local schoolchildren and crew members of the Sydney Fish Market Professional Fishing Fleet. A very special day in the company of an environmental legend. Our condolences to Ian's family, friends and the Clean-Up Australia family. 
WA marine bioseurity initiative wins Golden Gecko Environmental Award

A scientific program that identifies potential marine biosecurity risks in WA ports has won a Golden Gecko environmental award. The program uses settlement plates to attract a multitude of marine organisms. Species are identified using DNA sequencing, and compared to a reference library of more than 70 introduced marine pests  Read more here.
Last days for ocean outfalls on the horizon

The last sewage pipes in NSW that direct wastewater into the ocean will be switched off by the NSW Government to protect our beaches, reduce pollution, improve water quality – and protect the marine environment. 

Great news if you fish in it, play in it or believe that the marine environment should be healthy, productive, valued and used in a responsible way! Well done Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who in early November announced the last three remaining ocean outfalls at Vaucluse and Diamond Bay will be closed and redirected to the Bondi Wastewater Treatment Plant.

OceanWatch has championed the cause for closure of these outfalls since our inception in 1989. Thanks go to the determination of our partners the Professional Fishermens Association and the Sydney Fish Market. Read more here.
Project Regard: The raw truth of Australia's Seafood Industry

Project Regard is an initiative of Women in Seafood Australasia (WISA) to highlight discussions about mental health in Australia's seafood sector. This confrontational 15-minute video documents members across our industry, from a variety of different roles, speaking honestly about their personal struggles with mental health. This is a step in the right direction in the campaign to bring the attention of mental health - rampant across the Australian commercial seafood industry - to the public as well as media, government and politicians.
Drones to count isolated endangered sea lions in Great Australian Bight

For the first time drone technology is being used to access one of the most isolated and harsh environments off our southern coast and provide accurate data on the endangered Australian sea lion. 

The marine mammals live at the base of the 100-metre-high Bunda Cliffs along the Great Australian Bight in South Australia.  Drones are sent down the cliff edge and thousands of high-resolution photographs are taken in quick succession. The images are then stitched together using photogrammetry software to build 3D digital images of the terrain and colonies to allow accurate estimates of the population size based on pup numbers. Read more here.
Dugong Detector boosted by $250,000 grant from Google

An Australian University led project that uses dugongs, artificial intelligence and drones to monitor seagrass ecosystems, has won $250,000 in funding from the Impact Challenge. Dugong Detector has used drones to generate aerial images in trials in Shark Bay (WA). Using a machine learning package, an algorithm has been developed to detect dugongs in the images. Read more here.
Tech tagged albatrosses to track trawlers in the Indian Ocean

Some 250 albatrosses are being equipped with tiny transceivers that will automatically pick up trawlers’ radar signals. Their locations will be transmitted to the French navy, which will use the data to identify vessels fishing in prohibited waters in the Indian Ocean, off the remote French islands of Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam.

Vessels fishing illegally generally switch off their automatic identification system (AIS) to avoid being tracked by satellite, but they cannot navigate safely without emitting low-level radar signals which the birds’ transceivers can detect as they fly over the ships. Read more here.
Victorian yabby net swap program

A important reminder that the Victorian Government has banned the use of opera house yabby nets after 8 platypuses were found drowned in a trap in Werribee River. A yabby net swap program is in place for recreational fishers to trade in old opera house nets for 'wildlife friendly' open top lift nets.  Find out more about the yabby net swap program here.
CSIRO recruits citizen scientists to monitor water quality with new app

The CSIRO has launched an app that scans water systems and provides information about their health. The Eye on Water app can also provide scientists with important data about water changes around Australia due to phenomena such as climate change. Eye on Water allows users to upload a photo of any sea or freshwater source and match it with a colour chart which will give them information about the water quality. The image is then added to a global database which will help scientists monitor Australian waters for things like algal blooms, sediment and salinity, and seasonal changes. The citizen science project has kicked off in Broome, Western Australia, where the CSIRO has trained high school students to use the app. Read more here.
1 billion plastic pellets (nurdles) bearing down on WA

More than 2.25 billion of the miniature plastic spheres were spilt into the ocean from a ship off the South African city of Durban in 2017, and they have been creeping their way to Australian shores ever since. The University of Western Australia has now started a project to determine how many nurdles have washed up, and to paint a clearer picture of who is responsible for the contamination. Read more here.
How activists are taking on the problem of ocean plastics

There's a plethora of articles on marine debris which wash across our desks on almost a daily basis. This one comes at the issue from a slightly different perspective and provides a snapshot of a number of initiatives, including - Plastic Bank, Next Wave, Ocean Clean Up, Vert Design and Sydney by Kayak. Well worth a read here.
Edible bioplastic sachet developed in Indonesia from seaweed
Australian seafood industry impacted by drought

Think drought only affects the land? Think again. With diminished rainfalls and higher than average temperatures the “big dry” has hit our oceans and is impacting Australia’s fishing industry.

NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association CEO Tricia Beatty said “at the Coffs Harbour Co-op we’re down 200 tonnes of product that we’d usually see coming in across things like prawns, bream, blue swimmer crabs and mud crabs. It’s the well known adage that what happens on land, happens in the sea too. The majority of the species we harvest spend part of their life in estuaries; we need good rain and a good flush of water coming through. It all helps. It helps the health of waterways and it helps the stock.”  Read more here.
Australia's first offshore windfarm wins international funding

Australia's first offshore wind farm, an $8 billion 2000 megawatt project, has secured financial backing from a major international green energy investment fund. The wind farm, dubbed the Star of the South, will be built 10 to 25 kilometres off the coast of Victoria’s Gippsland region, in the Bass Strait, and aims to begin energy generation as early as 2024. Read more here.
Celebrating 20 years of  Womens Industry Network Seafood Community (WINSC)

In late October, the Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community (WINSC) celebrated 20 years by hosting a gala dinner in Adelaide. To commemorate industry women that have been both dedicated and outstanding contributors, WINSC had the pleasure of inducting 20 women throughout Australia to the inaugural Women’s Honour Roll on the night. Check out the illustrious list here.

Coinciding with the event, the network has been renamed 'Women in Seafood Australiasia' (WISA). 

...and that's not all, the network also raised over $6,000 to establish a Lost at Sea Tragedies (LAST) Foundation. Great work ladies. 
Aquaculture farmers take out 2018 Australian Farmer of the Year  Award

Congratulations to Peter & Frances Bender @ Huon Aquaculture for taking out the 2018 Australian Farmer of the Year Award. This is the first time that seafood has taken out this award, and challenges the stereotypical view of 'a farmer'.  Read more here.
2,200 ha Kingfish farm to be established off Abrolhos Islands, WA

Huon Aquaculture is planning to establish a sizeable kingfish farm off the Abrolhos Islands in WA. Spanning 2,200 hectares in the ‘Mid-West Aquaculture Development Zone’, by year 4 Huon plan on harvesting 500 tonnes of fish a year … and then build up to full production, 24,000 tonnes/yr, over the next 10 years.  Read more here.
Palau to ban sunscreen from 2020 in bid to save coral reef

The Pacific nation of Palau will ban most types of sunscreen from 2020 in a bid to save coral reefs. Palau law defines reef-toxic sunscreen as containing any one of 10 chemicals, including oxybenzone, and states that other chemicals may also be banned. The legislation also requires tour operators to start providing customers with reusable cups, straws and food containers. Scientists have found that some chemicals in sunscreen can be toxic to coral reefs, which are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem as well as a popular draw for tourists.

But some critics say there aren't enough independent scientific studies on the issue while others worry that people will suffer from too much sun exposure if they stop using the products. Read more here.
Happy Sea Slug Day

The 29th October is recognised in some 'select' circles as  Sea Slug Day. To celebrate, the amazing team at Reef Life Survey shared 6 facinating facts about one of the ocean's most diverse (and bizarre!) groups. 
Oceans heating faster than previoulsy thought

The world's oceans have absorbed 60% more heat than previously thought over the last quarter of a century.

New research published in the journal Nature used a novel method of measuring ocean temperature. It found that for each of the last 25 years, oceans had absorbed heat energy equivalent to 150 times the amount of electricity mankind produces annually. That is 60% higher than previous studies showed. Read more here.

According to their most recent assessment this month, scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say the world's oceans have absorbed 90 percent of the temperature rise caused by man-made carbon emissions.
"Headless chicken monster" found in ocean depths surrounding Antarctica. 

The 'headless chicken monster', also known as the swimming sea cucumber was first caught on camera in ther Gulf of Mexico in 2017. Researchers at the Australian Antarctic Division got a surprise when one popped up on camera in the Southern Ocean for the first time. The cameras were designed in partnership with the commercial longline fishing industry to assit in fisheries management.

Grants & Awards

Coastcare - Victorian Community Grants 2019
Applications are now open, and will close 20th February 2019. The Coastcare Victoria Community Grants Program supports community organisations to protect and enhance the coastal and near-shore marine environment. Grants of up to $10,000 for one-year projects and $15,000 for two-year projects are available. Click here for more details.


Victorian Fisheries - Recreational Fishing Grants Program
Large grant applications are now open. Funded by fishing licence fees, the grants provide funding for projects that improve recreational fishing, including:  facilities additions and upgrades, habitat improvement, education programs and research. Applications close February 2019. Click here for more information.


NSW OEH Coastal & Estuary Grants Program
These grants support local government in managing the risks from coastal hazards, such as coastal erosion, restoring degraded coastal habitats or improving the health of NSW estuaries, wetlands and littoral rainforests. Click here for more information.


NSW OEH Restoration & Rehabilitation Grants
Grants of between $5,000 and $100,000 are available for projects that assist in the ongoing sustainable management and stewardship of significant environmental assets and services in NSW. Applications will close on Monday 3 December at 3pm sharp. Click here for more information.


Rural & Regional Enterprise Scholarships
Applications are open for the Rural & Regional Enterprise Scholarships. These scholarships support students with the costs of studying at university or at a vocational education & training institution. Scholarships are valued at up to $18,000 each and are available to support students studying for 6 months full-time or up to 8 years part-time.  Click here for more details. 

Diary Dates

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