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National Marine NRM News

May 2019
In This Edition:


OceanWatch at the 9th Annual Loaves & Fishes BBQ. 

On Good Friday, OceanWatch Australia's Michael Wooden co-led the annual Loaves & Fishes Event at South West Rocks Surf Life Saving Club. We welcomed a fantastic turnout on the day and extend our thanks to all of the volunteers for a great day out oceanside, where we saw the community fed a delicious, tandoori sea mullet BBQ, whilst engaging with their local fisherman and learning about the history of fishing in the area.

OceanWatch on the Judging Panel for Sydney Rock Oyster & Prawn at Royal Easter Show

In April, OceanWatch's Program Manager for Aquaculture Andy Myers was invited to sit on the Judging panel at the Royal Agricultural Society – Aquaculture Class (Sydney Rock Oyster and Prawn) which took place at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show at the Royal Easter Show. For the first time ever, the judging took place in front of the public.

Established in 2001, the Sydney Aquaculture Competition judges the best of the best in Australian aquaculture. This year however, the competition devoted its focus towards the growth of the Australian Prawns and Oysters to build strength in the industry. 

And the winners were......

Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture for the Champion Prawn & the Champion Aquaculture Product Perpetual Trophy, and consistent winners Tathra Oysters took home the title of Champion Sydney Rock Oyster.

Read the Royal Agricultural Society's Sydney Rock Oyster & Prawn Catalogue here. 

Oyster Farmers Gather for the Hastings Shed Day

On the 4th of April OceanWatch organised an industry shed day on the Hastings River, an opportunity for 33 Oyster farmers and representatives to gather for a BBQ at Holiday Coast Oysters - to come together and enjoy a shared meal whilst engaging with numerous stakeholders. It was a really positive day focused on connecting industry, and sharing some speed updates from numerous organisations, (including: NSW Farmers, SOCo, local QAP, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, NSW DPI (Aquaculture Management & Oyster Reef), NSW Food Authority, Oyster Safe & OceanWatch Australia) which took place after lunch and was well received.
Master Fisherman Training announced for Coffs Harbour.

OceanWatch Australia is pleased to announce an opportunity for professional fishermen from the Coffs Harbour region to participate in the Master Fisherman Program on the 3rd of May at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club. 

The program provides opportunity to build community awareness, trust and confidence in sourcing local Australian seafood, and training is of no cost for Professional Fishermen. 

Professional fishermen who successfully complete the workshop will be recognised as an OceanWatch Master Fisherman. Each Master Fishermen is promoted as an individual committed to responsible and sustainable sourcing of seafood for the community.

The workshop additionally offers opportunity to be trained and assessed in the VET recognised competency unit “Participate in Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices”.

To register please contact Woody: 0422 618 248

The OceanWatch Master Fisherman Program is supported by funding from the NSW Government and OceanWatch Australia to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries in New South Wales.

Get Involved & Do Your Bit

Marine Pest Education & Awareness Materials

Can you help to identify marine pest educational materials?

Awareness & education materials form essential elements of passive surveillance for the detection of marine pests and maintaining Australian
marine biosecurity. Government, NGOs, industry and other agencies have
produced marine pest awareness materials for various purposes in the past.
This includes information brochures, identification guides, signage for boat
ramps, educational videos and a variety of other resources. These materials
are located in disparate locations and are not always readily accessible or
available for public use.

A national agreed priority for marine pest biosecurity is outlined in Marine Pest Plan 2018-2023, Activity 2.3 - Promote tailored education and awareness materials to engage marine pest observer groups in passive surveillance activities. To address this need, the Australian Government - Department of Agriculture & Water Resources has engaged OceanWatch Australia to:

. Collate existing marine pest education and awareness resources 
. Develop a searchable online database of materials
. Identify gaps
. Develop new marine pest awareness & educational resources.  

So that OceanWatch can develop a comprehensive database of materials, we
would appreciate your input into this project. If you hold marine pest
educational or awareness materials developed after 2003, can you please download a form from this link, fill in the details and send to along with a digital copy (if available) of the resource by 31st May 2019. 


In The News

Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre launched in Tasmania


Last week, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Karen Andrews launched the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which will receive $70 million over the next decade from the Federal Government.

The CRC, based at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College in Launceston, will bring together, for the first time, national and international expertise in aquaculture, marine renewable energy and marine engineering as part of a single, collaborative project. Through integration of the knowledge and expertise across these sectors, this CRC will pave the way for innovative, commercially viable and sustainable offshore developments that will see rapid increases in marine renewable energy output and seafood production.

Liberal Senator for Tasmania and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Richard Colbeck said the Blue Economy CRC would leverage one of Tasmania’s key competitive advantages.

“As an island state with strong research capacity, we are globally competitive when it comes to marine-based industries and this new initiative supports jobs across Tasmania."

Learn more about the CRC here. 


Northern Prawn Fishery Industry leads innovation in Bycatch Reduction


A new bycatch reduction device, the ‘Tom’s Fisheye’, has been added to three other effective devices that have been tested by the Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) fleet, for use during the tiger prawn season from 1 August this year.

CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Wez Norris, said the trials last year showed the device can reduce bycatch by up to 40 per cent compared to the square mesh panel, which has been the bycatch reduction device primarily used in the NPF up to now.

“The ‘Tom’s Fisheye’ creates an area of low pressure in the trawl net as it is pulled through the water, increasing access to a gap in the net for fish to escape,” said Mr Norris.

“There will be a choice for NPF trawl boat operators to use one of these effective devices from 2020, following further commercial testing in the fishery during this year’s tiger prawn season."

Read more here.


Oil Companies' Environmental Impact will now be made Public

A new government regulation was enacted last week which forces oil companies' environmental plans to be made public for consultation for 30 days before they are approved.

Senator Matt Canavan's new government regulation comes amid opposition to the absence of public consultancy on offshore exploration environmental plans.

Oil and gas companies' environmental plans previously did not require public consultancy and simply had to be approved by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management (NOPSEMA). 

But Greens federal election candidate for Newcastle, Dr John Mackenzie, told the Newcastle Herald that a 30-day consultation period is “insufficient” to protect the marine environment and prevent threats to local fishing and tourism industries.

Asset Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Advent Energy, has proposed plans for seismic testing off Newcastle and the Central Coast this year in PEP11 (Petroleum exploration permit 11). The plans have received significant backlash from locals and fisheries who oppose the testing’s environmental degradation.

There has been significant anecdotal evidence from fishermen around the world who note decrease catch rates after seismic testing and describe the practice as "an assault on their livelihoods". 

New Zealand banned seismic testing last April as part of their goal to transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

Read more on SBS. 

Image is of a protest against seismic testing off Newcastle coast organised by Save Our Coast environmental  group. Source: Save Our Coast


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 - Deadline May 17

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.

AMP'S $1m Tomorrow Fund

$1m in grants that can be used for a range of activities, including travel, equipment, study costs, research and more. Deadline May 23. Click here for more information.


Diary Dates

Related Newsletters & Links

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