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National Marine NRM News

April 2019
In This Edition:


OceanWatch joins Port Stephens Oyster farmers, DPI, and TIDE rangers to collect 365kg of rubbish from Salamander Bay.

In February we were glad to be a part of a cleanup in NSW Salamander Bay, where 32 volunteers came together to collect 365 kilograms of rubbish from the mangroves, bush and waterways that had been cleared by the same team just 11 months before.

"The water is our livelihood. If the water quality drops, our oysters suffer and so do we," Rob Redmayne from Seven Seas Oysters, based in Swan Bay, said.

"We're happy to get out there and help do our part. We pulled a fair bit out of the area. It's also good to get out and socialise with the others [farmers]."

A summary of the rubbish collected has been documented and will be submitted to Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Australian Marine Debris Database which analyses marine debris collected around the country.

Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2018

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation's (FRDC) annual Status of Australian Fish Stocks 2018 (SAFS) report is out this month. The report covers 120 species made up of 406 stocks across finfish, crustaceans, molluscs and sharks and rays – an increase of 37 species on the previous report released in 2016.

Key facts from the report: 

  • Majority of Australia’s assessed fish stocks are sustainable. 
  • Largest assessment of fish stocks ever undertaken in Australia. 
  • 120 species and 406 stocks assessed.  
  • Southern Bluefin Tuna now rated as recovering.  
  • Pacific stock of Bigeye Tuna goes from depleted to sustainable.

Overall, almost 80% of the 406 stocks were able to be assessed.  Of those assessed, almost 85% were sustainable or recovering.

The report brings together the best available information to determine the status of Australia’s key wild fish stocks against an agreed national reporting framework. The framework provides transparency and consistency in stock status reporting across jurisdictions.

To read the full reports, visit or access through a new smartphone app SAFS – Sustainable Fish Stocks available through both the app store and Google Play.

Free FishOnline Workshops for NSW Professional Fishermen

On behalf of the NSW DPI, OceanWatch and the Professional Fisherman's Association are collaborating to deliver Free FishOnline Training across NSW throughout April to assist fishers transition to the new online new quota usage reporting requirements and to familiarise existing users with changes that will apply. 

Read More here.

Get Involved & Do Your Bit

Report Illegal Abalone Hauls

Illegal Abalone poaching is dramatically increasing and poses a major threat to our environment and to the livelihoods of licensed Fishermen. If you spy what looks like illegal activity or find a large group of discarded shells, call it in. In NSW, people are encouraged to contact officials with any reports of illegal fishing through Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536 or online at the DPI Fisheries website.

"A reward of up to $1250 may be available to anyone providing information leading to a conviction depending on the seriousness of the offence," said a spokesperson from the NSW DPI.

More than 5700 illegally taken abalone were seized during the 2017-18 financial year including the largest seizure of illegal abalone in 20 years.

Last financial year NSW DPI seized 2560 illegally harvested abalone. 

"NSW DPI has seized more abalone from a number of alleged offenders this year and intend to take the offenders to court," the spokesperson said. 

Quotes sourced from an article on The Camden Courier.

National Recreational Fishing Survey of Southern Bluefin Tuna 

The Australian Government has contracted the University of Tasmania to undertake a survey of recreational fisher effort, catch, release and harvest estimates of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) and other large tuna and billfish. The survey will be undertaken in SA, VIC, TAS, & NSW using a variety of methods. Data collection will run through to Dec 2019. Click here for more information.

Free Training for Coastal Volunteers in Victoria 

Coastcare Victoria is offering free training for volunteers to increase their capacity to manage public areas. There are various training courses available at different locations. Training includes:
  1. Successful Grant Writing Workshop
  2. Strategic Planning for Volunteer Groups
  3. Social media
  4. First Aid
Click here to learn more about the training, and course dates in 2019. 
National Social and Economic Recreational Fishing Survey

Last week the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water, the Hon Richard Colbeck, launched the National Social and Economic Recreational fishing survey. The Survey will run over the course of the year and is being coordinated by Andy Moore at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics & Sciences (ABARES) and Jacki Schirmer at the University of Canberra. More details on the survey will be available at

In The News

A European Strategy for Plastics in A Circular Economy

The European parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers as part of a sweeping law against plastic waste that despoils beaches and pollutes oceans, by 2021 this will be active in all EU member states. 

Read more here.

Predatory Starfish Causing Havoc in VIC

"They've been lurking in Victorian waters for three decades, now a predatory Japanese starfish has reached plague proportions in Port Phillip Bay.

The Northern Pacific seastar is causing marine havoc, with the introduced species enjoying a population spike around Melbourne.

Described as "voracious predators", they have even washed up along the Maribyrnong river in Kensington, just four kilometres from Melbourne's CBD.

Parks Victoria's marine and coasts leader Mark Rodrigue said the creatures go through the "boom and bust" cycles and are able to breed easily.

But the concerning aspect for Parks Victoria is they seem to have spread to other parts of Victoria, with reported sightings in the Gippsland Lakes and Wilsons Promontory." 

Read the article here. 

Rare Sunfish Discovery at Coorong

A massive and legendary sea creature has washed up on an Australian beach has made global headlines.

The 1.8 metre specimen — believed to be a Mola mola, or ocean sunfish — came ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia and was discovered this month.

Linette Grzelak, who posted the image to Facebook, said her partner spotted the unique beast (which was already dead) while out fishing.

“A sunfish found by my partner along the Coorong a couple nights ago … I thought it was fake,” the post said.

From via AFP. 


Enormous Ocean Sunfish Caught on Camera Cleaning Itself | BBC Earth.

Bleaching Has Struck The Southernmost Reef In The World

This month corals in Lord Howe Island Marine Park began showing signs of bleaching. The 145,000 hectare marine park contains the most southerly coral reef in the world, in one of the most isolated ecosystems on the planet.

Following early reports of bleaching in the area, researchers from three Australian universities and two government agencies have worked together throughout March to investigate and document the bleaching.

Sustained heat stress has seen 90% of some reefs bleached, although other parts of the marine park have escaped largely unscathed. The bleaching was caused by high seawater temperature from a persistent summer marine heatwave off southeastern Australia. 

Read the article on The Conversation. 


Grants & Awards

Communities Environment Program
Communities Environment Program

Communities Environment Program
The Australian Government will invest more than $22 million in 2019-20 to deliver a wide range of on-ground projects that conserve, protect and sustainably manage our environment.

Under the Communities Environment Program, each federal electorate can receive up to $150,000 in grant funding for small-scale, community-led projects nominated by the local Member of Parliament in consultation with the community will focus on environmental priorities such as:

  • waste and litter reduction
  • protecting native animals, including our threatened species
  • addressing weeds and pest animals
  • restoring and improving coasts, wetlands, riverbanks and waterways
  • greening parks and urban areas.
Read more and apply here.

National Landcare Program: Smart Farm Partnerships - Round 2

The Australian Government is inviting applications for projects to deliver services under the National Landcare Program - Smart Farming Partnerships Round 2. Projects are expected to commence before the end of 2019 and be complete by 30 April 2023.

Smart Farming Partnerships is an open, competitive, grant opportunity to support substantial, complex projects that are to be delivered in consortium partnerships to trial, develop and implement innovative tools and practices.

The purpose of Smart Farming Partnerships is to foster sustainable natural resource management innovation. Smart Farming Partnerships deliver against the Australian Government’s policy of using innovation to cultivate more sustainable, productive and profitable agriculture, forestry, fishing and aquaculture industries; protect Australia’s biodiversity; protect and improve the condition of natural resources (in particular on-farm soils, water and vegetation); and assist Australia to meet its national and international obligations.

Read more here.
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.

Port Phillip Bay Fund 
The Port Phillip Bay Fund is a grants program that supports projects by community groups and organisations who help protect and preserve the environmental health of the Bay.
Read more and apply here. Applications close April 10th 2019. 

Diary Dates

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