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National Marine NRM News 

December 2020 
In This Edition:


Merry Christmas
OceanWatch would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,  let's hope the new year is easier than this one. Our office will be closed from the 18th of December until 4th  of January.
Happy Holidays!
OceanWatch launch of survey on bushfire impacts on aquatic environments
OceanWatch is launching the first nation-wide survey of impacts of bushfires to aquatic environments, as well as impacts to social/economic activities reliant on aquatic environments. The more results we collect, the greater our understanding of these issues, and the more information we will have to guide bushfire recovery intervention in the future. We invite everyone to participate, and please share it with your colleagues and friends. Completion should take around 10 min. If you complete the survey, you might win a gift voucher to the value of $50. Thank you very much in advance for your help and support.

Find the survey here.  

Marine Muster
OceanWatch held the annual Marine Muster earlier this month at Sydney Fish Market. The event was our first hybrid event, held both in person and via zoom. 

We heard from a variety of speakers on the day, the presentations were mostly focused on two topics, participation in bushfire recovery, and adaptation to the changing work environment during COVID. It was a great opportunity to catch up with others in the marine space and hear about the work they have been doing this year. 

Thanks to all those who attended and presented, we look forward to seeing what the new year brings. 

Litter Free Estuaries
The OceanWatch team began work on our Litter Free Estuaries project last week around the  Brisbane Water estuary.
The Litter Free Estuaries project is focused on Litter prevention around NSW estuaries. This is being achieved through the development and dissemination of a Litter Prevention Strategy based on a piloted study of litter prevention in the Brisbane Water estuary.
For the pilot study OWA has partnered with Central Coast Council to utilise their knowledge and experience of litter in the area. The study in Brisbane Water is targeting 5 litter hotspots along the estuary foreshore with the goal of reducing litter at these hotspots by 50%. Last week we began the study by conducting Local Litter Checks to assess the current litter issues around the estuary, and will work with council in the coming months to determine ways of preventing litter in these areas.
This project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.
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.
David Malone
David Malone is a professional fisherman, endorsed to fish in the NSW Estuary General Fishery since 1989 he harvests a variety of estuarine species.

David is based out of Port Stephens and mainly works in the Myall Lakes, responsibly and sustainably harvesting local seafood for seafood consumers.

David is proud to be recognised as an OceanWatch Master Fisherman.

Learn more
Emil Hropic

Emil Hropic is a steward of the marine environment, and is passionate about providing the community with access to local seafood in a responsible and sustainable manner. Emil is a 7th generation professional fisher who is endorsed to fish in the NSW Estuary General and Ocean Prawn Trawl fisheries.
The Hropic family have lived and fished in Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast for over 50 years, with a proud history of responsibly harvesting and supplying local sustainable seafood for seafood consumers.

Learn more

Get Involved

Tide to Tip 2021
In February 2020 over 270 Oyster Farmers across Australia came together to help combat the scourge of marine debris in our nation’s waterways for the inaugural ‘Tide to Tip’ events. Whilst many oyster farmers already participate in estuary clean-ups throughout the year, ‘Tide to Tip’ provided an opportunity to scale up the effort by combining industry effort across NSW and Interstate to collectively improve our nations waterways. 

Now it's time to start planning the 2021 event, for the next Tide to Tip we'd love to engage more oyster growers, and see more events across Australia's estuaries. 
If you are interested in getting involved please email

OceanWatch can assist with the organisation of waste collection & disposal, provide rubbish bags, gloves etc. The model for a clean-up is easy to replicate, and local growers can decide if they want to run this as an industry only event, or partner with the local community or other local groups. The more growing regions we can get on board the better – it becomes a much better story, and one that demonstrates the value that the oyster industry places on a healthy environment.

In The News

Plastic bags and food packages killing Australia's marine animals
Image Source: SIA
"Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak body representing the Australian seafood industry, has welcomed Australia’s commitment to sustainable oceans under its representation on the High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel). 

“This month, the Ocean Panel has launched their ocean action agenda, underpinned by the ‘Transformations for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: A Vision of Protection, Production and Prosperity’ paper, which sets out a headline commitment to 100 percent sustainable ocean management,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said."-SIA
Plastic bags and food packages killing Australia's marine animals
Image Source: CSIRO
"Soft plastics have now been confirmed as posing the greatest threat to many marine animals, with fishing debris threatening larger species, and balloons, ropes and rubber posing a great risk to the smaller species.
When marine animals eat soft plastic debris, it can block their gastrointestinal system, causing a long, slow death from starvation.
But sharp pieces of debris can also pierce the gut wall, causing septicaemia and ultimately death.
The CSIRO says as little as one piece of ingested debris can kill an animal."-ABC
Dolphin Research Institute launches New Program
Dolphin Research Institute (DRI) is asking boaters to commit to "Dolphin Distancing" this summer to protect our dolphins. This summer the Institute is piloting a new approach they believe is a world-first, for improving our behaviour around dolphins.  Rather than blaming, shaming and complaining, they are asking the community to be part of the solution by creating a new "norm" on the water. 

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

Professional Short Course: National Acid Sulfate Soil Guidance 

The Environmental Analysis Laboratory at Southern Cross University are offering two day short courses for professionals responsible for assessing and managing acid sulfate soils, in accordance with the National Acid Sulfate Soils Guidance.  Course date: 25- 26 March 2021, Tweed Heads, NSW.

Register Interest.

General Jeffery Soil Health Award

Nominations are now open for the General Jeffery Soil Health Award for any individual farmer, land manager, extension specialist or educator making an outstanding contribution to improving soil health in Australia. Nominations will close on March 31, 2021.

Learn more here.


Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund

This Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund will provide $250 million of further funding to support the social and economic recovery of communities affected by bushfire in 47 regional NSW Local Government Areas. Applications close 2 pm Thursday 28 January 2021

Learn more here.

Traceability Grants Program: Round 2

This program provides opportunities for successful applicants to conduct projects that will enhance the supply chain traceability systems and arrangements that support the export of our agricultural commodities. Applications close 11 pm 21 January 2021.

Learn more here.

FRDC Expressions of Interest

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) that address research, development & extension (RD&E) priorities nominated by the FRDC. The nominated RD&E priorities for investment are outlined below. EOIs that address multiple priorities are encouraged. The November 2020 call includes to two application deadlines. Short term projects 11.59 pm (23.59) 6 December 2020; other projects deadline is 11.59 pm (23.59) 20 January 2021. 

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

Related Newsletters & Links

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OceanWatch Australia · Locked Bag 247 · Pyrmont, New South Wales 2009 · Australia