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National Marine NRM News 

March 2022
In This Edition:


Coastal & Marine Environments Flood Damage Report
The 2022 flooding of east coast Australia have challenged the habitats that support the marine environment’s health and productivity.  Mammoth efforts to assist the thousands of people who have lost homes and livelihoods are underway. 

Now as the waters recede, and wide-spread environmental impacts are observed, OceanWatch is determined to find out where and what damage or dangers to aquatic habitats exist across our seascape so that we can forward on such information to relevant organisations with abilities to act.

To that end we need you to help us be the eyes and ears on your local waterway. If you are out and about, tell us what you have seen.  Take part in this survey (link below). 
We are also interested in observations below the water where all things eventually sink and impact seafood harvesting and marine productivity.
Please access the survey here

This project is supported by OceanWatch Australia, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
Post Bushfire Mangrove Recovery
OceanWatch was in the Clyde River this week working to recover areas of mangroves damaged by the 2019-2020 bushfires. In many of the damaged areas, there has been little to no regrowth in the 2 years post-bushfire. As mangroves are essential habitats where many aquatic animals live, feed, and breed, the degradation of these habitats post-bushfire has been concerning. This has led us to trial mangrove restoration techniques in these areas, which involves planting mangroves seedlings into the damaged habitats.

With the help of a great team of volunteers, as well as MangroveWatch and Kevin McAsh from OysterLife the team has collected over 800 mangrove seedlings from the river and has now planted 550 of them into the damaged areas. The remaining seedlings are being housed in our mangrove nursery and will eventually be planted in the damaged areas. 

This Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project has been supported by OceanWatch Australia and the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.

Find out more about our bushfire recovery work
Tide to Tip
The 3rd annual Tide to Tip was another great success, the oyster industry in collaboration with OceanWatch and Clean-up Australia turned out in full force again to remove over 8 tonnes of marine debris from our nation's waterways. 
Despite the extensive flooding on the east coast in late February leading to the cancellation of many of the events, oyster farmers came back in late March to complete their local clean-ups. 
A big thanks to everyone who was involved this year, we had 160 volunteers involved in the clean-ups and almost 500 volunteer hrs dedicated to the effort of cleaning up. 

This years' clean-ups were supported by Shapes in the Sand an independent Australian swimwear label, that donated $10 from the sale of each garment from their hightide range to Tide to Tip.
Master Fisherman SA Training Underway
OceanWatch Master Fisherman training workshops are underway in South Australia as part of our WetFEET program. Pictured above are some of the most recent professional fishermen from Port Lincoln who are now recognised as OceanWatch Master Fisherman. Through the program we are working with professional fishers from the Lakes & Coorong and Marine Scalefish fisheries, with our next workshop to be held this week in Port Broughton. 

Learn more about the WetFEET program here, and visit the Master Fisherman website

This project is supported by OceanWatch Australia, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
Bushfire Resilience Tours Begin
The first of our Bushfire Resilience Tours was held this week on the Clyde River. These tours bring together people with different backgrounds so that they can connect over their recovery experience while learning more about the impacts of bushfires on aquatic environments, as well as practices one can employ to minimise these impacts. 
The tour took participants on a journey upriver to see and discuss the impacts of the 2019-2020 bushfires. Participants from community and Batemans Bay High School heard from representatives of Batemans Bay Aboriginal Land Council, Nature Conservation Council, MangroveWatch, NSW Rural Fire Service, and local oyster farmers (OysterLife). Each of the speakers provided insight into different aspects of bushfires relating to impacts, management, and resilience and ignited conversations on recovery measures that can be used to minimise the negative impacts of bushfires to aquatics. 

In the coming months, we will be running similar tours in 4 other catchments on the NSW South Coast including Tuross River, Bega River, Towamba River, and Shoalhaven River, where we aim to build resilience through the connection of community, experts, and the aquatic environment.

This is a Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Although funding for this product has been provided by both the Australian and NSW Governments, the material contained herein does not necessarily represent the views of either government.

Find out more about our bushfire recovery work

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. 
The OceanWatch Master Fisherman program is continuing to raise the standard of responsible fishing in Australia. Recognised professional fishermen showcase the drive for sustainability and environmental awareness in the Australian seafood industry.

Learn more.
Kim Poole

Kim first went on a boat when he was 4 years old. He is a fourth-generation fisherman. He became a professional fisherman in 1970 while he was fishing on his dad’s boat. 
What he loves about fishing is being around nature every day.

Learn more
Danny Stewart

Danny is a second generation fishermen. He did his work experience at the Coffs Harbour Co-op when he was just 15 years old. He then started fishing with his father in 1989 before buying his first boat in 1992. He moved onto lobster and trap and line fishing full time in 1996.

Learn more. 

In The News

Fish Kills
There have been a number of fish kills reported across northern NSW in the Macleay, Clarence and Richmond Rivers. These fish kills are expected after such significant rain and flooding events.
 The cause is attributed to critically low Dissolved Oxygen following significant amounts of flood wat
er entering the river system and warm-hot weather conditions. Impacts on water quality are expected to continue in the coming days and weeks, due to large volumes of organic matter including trees, leaves, and sediment being washed into the river by flood waters, as this material breaks down it consumes dissolved oxygen from the water and this can result in critically low Dissolved Oxygen levels that can lead to fish kills.
 Simple things you can do:
  • Be on the lookout for any changes in water quality - i.e. changes to the colour or odour of your local waterway and report them to DPI Fisheries via the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.
  • Be cautions entering floodwaters as they can contain harmful bacteria and other contaminants
  • Contact DPI Fisheries on the phoneline if you observe any dead fish or fish starting to gasp at the water surfaces.
For more information on fish kills visit: visit the NSW DPI website.
Sixth Mass Bleaching Event on the GBR
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority confirmed recently a sixth mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef, with bleaching widespread across both the far north and central sections of the reef. A concerning factor of the most recent bleaching event is the occurrence of bleaching in a La Nina year which was expected to be a time of reef recovery. Widespread mass bleaching of corals on the reef has occurred in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020 and now 2022. 

Learn more. 
MSC Sustainable Seafood Awards Announced
The Marine Stewardship Council recently announced this year's recipients of the Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia. The Awards recognise pioneering organisations and individuals making a significant contribution to ensure we have plentiful seafood for future generations. The annual awards are run by the international non-profit the Marine Stewardship Council in partnership with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. 

Learn more. 

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

Seafood Excellence Awards

Held biennially since 1996, the Sydney Fish Market Seafood Excellence Awards showcase the Australian seafood industry, its value to the national economy, its professionalism, and its commitment to supplying some of the finest seafood in the world to local, national and international markets. Nominations close this Thursday 7th April at 11.59pm.

Learn more.

Disaster relief loans - Primary producers

Primary producers directly affected by a declared natural disaster who are in urgent and genuine need of assistance, may be eligible for low interest loans of up to $130,000.
This low interest rate loan can help a farm business to: 

  • continue to operate your farm businesses for the next twelve months or until the next income is received.
  • replace and repair damage caused to the property and associated improvements not covered by insurance

Disaster Recovery Financial Assistance 

An Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child is available for people impacted by flooding as a one-off non-means tested payment. 
Primary producers hit by storms and floods in NSW can access $15,000 immediately, through grants of up $75,000, as part of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.  
Grants are now available for eligible primary producers in the Local Government Areas that have been disaster declared for the February 2022 storm and flood event.  
Those eligible for this grant can access up to $15,000 up-front to assist with the immediate clean-up and recovery costs, and if required, a further $60,000 to repair more extensive damage to their properties.  

Service NSW is also available to discuss crisis support and can be called on 13 77 88. 

Strengthening Rural Communities Program

Grants are available for a broad range of grassroots, community-led initiatives that directly and clearly benefit local communities. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and assessed quarterly.

This round, grants up to $10,000 are available through the Small & Vital Stream, and grants up to $25,000 are available through the Bushfire Recovery Stream.

Learn more.

Marine NRM Coastal Directory

The Marine NRM Coastal Directory is designed to connect people and skill sets reducing silos between disciplines. This free register, publicly available on the OceanWatch website, is an easy way to engage new colleagues and extend your network, helping to fuel the growth of Australia's blue-green innovations. Key information on Researchers, Natural Resource Management Agents, and Suppliers working in the marine environment, are now accessible in one place.

Create your account or search for others

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