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National Marine NRM News 

January 2021
In This Edition:


Source Reduction Trials
OceanWatch is working with Tangaroa Blue and partners on the “ReefClean” Program to document the use of bait bags within Australian fishing industries. A review of the Australian bait supplier market was completed, and a survey was disseminated to bait and tackle suppliers to help understand possible physical and psychological limitations and other obstacles for the uptake of bait bag alternatives.

The alternatives that were identified include water soluble bags, compostable bags, sugar cane trays with lids and cardboard boxes. OceanWatch has initiated trailing of these bait bag alternatives last week to assess their suitability. The trial products were filled with various types of bait (fresh and frozen), and stored in a commercial freezer and will be monitoring weekly to review the success of each product.

Read article on our website.

Tide to Tip
Tide to Tip 2021 is now only a couple of weeks away. This year we are proud to announce that we have 21 estuaries in NSW and QLD signed up to take part in the event. 

OceanWatch was in Port Stephens last week to film the safety video for the upcoming Tide to Tip clean ups with some of the local oyster farmers. The video will be available on the NSW Oysters Website for the event.

The details of each clean-up event can be found on the NSW Oysters Website. For more information or to get involved contact
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 135 professional fisherman across NSW have participated in the program. 
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.
Glenn Dawson
Glenn Dawson is a professional fisherman, working for the past 22 years in the Clarence River region, on the NSW north coast. Glenn is endorsed in the NSW Estuary General Fishery, and continually strives for best practice.

Glenn has worked on techniques to minimise bycatch in eel traps with OceanWatch Australia through funding from the NSW Local Land Services.

Learn more
Greg Tarrant

Greg has been a professional fisherman for 30 years. He is endorsed in the NSW Estuary General and Ocean Hauling fisheries, and resides in the Port Stephens region.

Greg mainly fishes in the Nelson Bay area, responsibly and sustainably harvesting local seafood for seafood consumers. Greg is proud to be recognised as an OceanWatch Master Fisherman.

Learn more

Get Involved

Survey: Bushfire impacts on aquatic environments
OceanWatch launched a survey of impacts of bushfires to aquatic environments, and social/economic activities reliant on aquatic environment last month. We invite everyone to participate, and please share it with your colleagues and friends. 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. 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.  

In The News

Oyster farms were banking on a better 2021, instead they got rain on top of a 'trifecta of pain'
Image Source: ABC
"After a year of ashy water, floods and COVID-19 lockdowns, oyster farmers across the state were looking forward to a bumper summer season.But recent rainfall along the New South Wales coast could be the final blow for many farmers — particularly those on the Macleay River.
Oyster farmer David Smith said more wet weather would herald another challenging year.
"We've got a trifecta of pain for oyster farmers on the Macleay at the moment," he said."-ABC
Fishers reject claims Australians are 'eating endangered sharks' under the guise of flake
"Queensland shark fishers have rejected an Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) campaign encouraging Australians to stop eating flake.
The Give Flake a Break campaign urges people to choose sustainable seafood alternatives, as there is no legal obligation to disclose what species of shark is being sold, or where it has come from.
Margaret Stevenson, who owns a fishing business with her husband Graham at Burnett Heads in Queensland, says there should not be any concern as fishers are already heavily regulated.
"We've got a total allowable catch that restricts how much we can catch," she said."-ABC
Snapper boost: more than 300,000 baby fish to be released
South Australian snapper stocks are about to get a significant boost with more than 300,000 fingerlings to be released in both the Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent over the coming months.
The restocking program is a $500,000 commitment from the Marshall Liberal Government to help snapper stocks recover from critically low levels in South Australia’s gulf waters.
Approximately 150,000 fingerlings will start to be released in Gulf St Vincent over the next week with an extra 150,000 fingerlings expected to be released into Spencer Gulf in autumn.

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

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


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.


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.

Related Newsletters & Links

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