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National Marine NRM News 

September 2020 
In This Edition:


OceanWatch Welcomes Newest Team Member
Meet Claudia Santori, the newest addition to the OceanWatch team. Claudia has an academic research background in ecology and management of aquatic species, recently completing her PhD. Learn more about Claudia's research in freshwater turtle ecology.

Claudia has taken on the role of spatial analyst for our bushfire recovery project. This project aims to set up a predictive spatial mapping tool tailored to 6 regions of Australia that experienced severe fires and downstream coastal impacts. The tool will support communities to discuss, plan and prioritise appropriate response actions that improve the outcome for fish habitats. This project will help to create a more prepared coastal community and seafood industry with better evidence for
future policy development and decision making. 

This project is supported by the Australian Government’s investment in bushfire recovery for wildlife and their habitats.

Reef Enhancement
OceanWatch in partnership with the Abalone Association NSW has been working on reef enhancement on the NSW south coast. This program seeks to control populations of the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) which have fed voraciously on marine vegetation. The urchin barrens that form as a result of this pose a threat to biodiversity levels and can undermine profitable harvesting of commercial species.  

The long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) is native to Australia's eastern coastline, inhabiting rocky reefs and coastal waters up to depths of 30m in NSW, Victoria and recent decades populations have expanded southward into Tasmanian waters. The long-spined sea urchin is crucial for maintaining healthy, functioning coastal ecosystems, and in many areas healthy populations are naturally maintained. Removing urchins from the wrong area, or the targeting of the incorrect species could have detrimental impacts on the marine ecosystem.

For this project, commercial divers with knowledge of the biology of the long-spined sea urchin, have been working to reduce urchin numbers at 4 sites on the NSW South Coast. The project aims to improve remaining urchin roe quality and encourage seaweed growth to increase the overall biodiversity within the site. Diving began at some of the sites late last year and will continue into 2021. Early monitoring of the sites indicates that there has been noticeable recovery of seaweeds at some of the sites, through reductions in the density of urchins. 

This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
The OceanWatch Master Fisherman program involves formal training and assessment for professional fishers, and supplementary development of online fisher profiles to help demonstrate individual commitment to responsible fishing practices. 
More than 130 professional fisherman across NSW have participated in the program. The program is now expanding interstate and will initially focus on professional fisherman in SA.
Recognised OceanWatch Master Fisherman are continuing to raise the standard of responsible fishing in Australia. These fisherman showcase the drive for sustainability and environmental awareness in the Australian seafood industry.

Learn more.
Dean Watterson
Dean started working as a deckhand in the mid 90's and a few months later he purchased his fishing business. Since then, he targets eastern school prawns fishing on his trawler Cathy within the Hawkesbury River. Dean is also endorsed to source a variety of finfish species working in the NSW Estuary General Fishery. 
Dean is a recognised OceanWatch Master Fisherman, trained and committed to responsible and sustainable fishing practices.

Learn more
Danny Elliott

Danny ‘Mullet’ Elliott is based out of Foster Tuncurry, and is endorsed to fish in the NSW Estuary General Fishery.
Danny mainly works in the Wallis Lake area and is proud to be an OceanWatch Master Fisherman, responsibly and sustainably harvesting local seafood for seafood consumers.
Danny’s fresh catch is available at the Wallis Lake Fishermen’s Coop.


Get Involved

Ocean Impact Pitchfest
The Ocean Impact Organisation recently launched their Ocean Impact Pitchfest 2020, their inaugural campaign calling for applications from start ups and businesses helping to create an abundant and sustainable ocean. 
The Ocean Impact Pitchfest 2020 is a virtual event celebrating the UN World Oceans Day theme of ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’ and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event seeks to cultivate the next generation of ‘Ocean Impact’ innovators in Australia and around the world.

The Finalists, Runners Up and Winner of Pitchfest will share in over $160,000 of support from OIO and the Pitchfest Partner Network. The winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize from Pitchfest Presenting Partner Bank Australia. 
Applications opened on Tuesday 25th August 2020 and will close on Monday 5th October 2020.

Get involved...

In The News

SIA has launched a pilot program addressing mental health in Australia's commercial fisheries
Image Source: SIA

"As part of SIA’s 2019 Federal Election package we successfully lobbied the Federal Government to provide funding for an industry-specific mental health pilot program, as provided many other sectors including land-based farmers, mining and construction industries. 

The program will be piloted in three industry identified focus communities – Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Newcastle, New South Wales and Darwin, Northern Territory – and has been designed to help break the stigma associated with poor mental health, and to connect industry with existing services and supports. "- SIA
South Australia Bans Single Use Plastics
Great news for the marine ecosystems this month, with South Australia becoming the first state in Australia to ban some of the single use plastics that plague our marine environment. 
The legislation will come into place next year, slightly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sale, supply and distribution of single use plastics like plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers will be illegal.
Economic analysis & Social and Economic monitoring following the NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program
A University of Technology Sydney research team led by Professor Kate Barclay has prepared an economic analysis and social and economic monitoring report following the recent NSW Fisheries Business Adjustment Program. 

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

Smart Farms Small Grants Round 4

The Australian Government is offering grants valued between $5,000 and $100,000 to support one to two-year projects that will help farming, forestry and fishing groups and communities increase their awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt smart and sustainable agriculture practices.

Apply today! Applications close at 11:00 pm AEDT, 9 October 2020.

Learn more here.

UTAS Science of Fishing online course

Science of Fishing is for everyone; from people wanting to develop their skills and knowledge in fishing, those looking to enhance their recreational fishing experience, to those looking to contribute to a sustainable fishery. 

Learn more here.

Get Listed on the Oyster Finder

To support NSW oyster sales during a difficult time for the seafood industry, an online directory of oyster farms & oyster retailers has been developed. The directory is available here.  This searchable map will help customers find oysters, users are able to filter their searches by: 
•    oyster farms
•    farms offering shed gate sales
•    those offering mail orders
•    those offering home delivery
•    those offering tourism experiences 
Get listed by entering your details

Learn more here

Master Fisherman Seafood Directory

To support NSW OceanWatch Master Fisherman’s seafood sales, an online directory of Master Fisherman's retailers has been created. This searchable map will help potential customers find Master Fisherman’s products.  You can find the directory on the Master Fisherman website homepage.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to the directory, please contact Claire Denamur on 0427 883 018 or email


Call for Proposals for NSW Litter Congress 2021

Proposals are now invited for panels, workshops, round tables, debates, presentations and other interactive formats for the 2021 Litter Congress.
With an emphasis on thoughtful and research-based methods of inquiry and with input from a range of sectors, the Litter Congress is the opportunity for individuals and groups involved in litter management, prevention and reduction to assemble to jointly tackle littering and behavior change in an interactive environment. Submissions close 11 December 2020.

Learn more here

Related Newsletters & Links

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