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National Marine NRM News

February 2020 Newsletter
In This Edition:


Tide to Tip

Oyster farmers across the country have come together to help combat the scourge of marine debris in Australian waterways. The inaugural event dubbed 'Tide to Tip' began on the 17th of February 2020 and continues into the coming weeks.

While the initiative is being driven by the Australian oyster industry, oyster farmers have taken the opportunity to partner with other concerned groups, including professional fishers, recreational anglers, Indigenous organisations, local schools and other coastal community stakeholders. 

To date 17 estuaries have participated in clean-up events in both NSW and QLD, with more clean-ups to come across NSW, NT, and WA. We've had an astounding turn out so far with 231 participants and 154 oyster farmers having taken part, collecting almost 11 tonnes of rubbish from Australia's waterways.

It's been a mammoth effort by the oyster industry. OceanWatch hopes this is the first of many large-scale clean-ups led by the seafood industry that not only provides a way for fishers and farmers to give back to the estuaries on which their livelihoods depend, but helps to ensure Australian waterways remain pristine and healthy for generations to come. 


The Urchin Plague: From Problem to Profit

One of the projects OceanWatch is currently working on focuses on reef enhancement, which seeks to control populations of the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) which have fed voraciously on marine vegetation. The urchin barrens that form as a result of this pose a threat to native biodiversity and undermine profitable harvesting of commercial species. 

This project aims to reduce the density of urchins via culling over four urchin barrens (8 ha) in NSW until mid 2021 and document the changes through time.This methodology can aid in improving remaining urchin roe quality as well as increasing the abundance of quality abalone. 

This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Meet our OceanWatch Master Fisherman

The OceanWatch Master Fisherman program is a formal training and assessment for professional fishers, helping to demonstrate commitment to responsible fishing practices. OceanWatch have now trained over 125 professional fisherman across NSW as Master Fisherman and are now expanding the program interstate, starting with 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.
Here are some of our Master Fisherman:
Mark Cranstone

Mark Cranstone fishes in Newcastle, Terrigal, Broken Bay, Botany Bay, Pittwater and the Hawkebury River.

He works in the estuary general fishery, ocean haul fishery, ocean trap and line, and the lobster fishery.

Mark is a current member of NSW commfish and is one of 20 OceanWatch certified Master Fisherman on the Hawkesbury River. 

Stephen Reed

Stephen Reed fishes in both the Hawkesbury River and Pittwater.
His catch includes yellowfin bream, sea mullet, sand whiting, dusky flathead, leatherjacket, luderick, mulloway, blue swimmer crab, mud crab, hairtail and eastern school prawns using meshing and hauling methods. 

Stephen completed the Master Fisherman program in February 2020, he is one of 20 OceanWatch certified Master Fisherman on the Hawkesbury River. 

Get Involved & Do Your Bit

Taste of Seafood: Hawkesbury River
Sunday 8th March 2020
Taste of Seafood in the Hawkesbury River will promote and celebrate the Hawkesbury River seafood industry.

It will raise awareness about local commercial fishers and provide an opportunity for the public see, feel and taste locally harvested wild caught seafood whilst interacting with members of the industry.

It is also an opportunity to educate the general public on the environmental sustainability of the seafood industry whilst learning how it is caught, where it is stored and where they can purchase it.

OceanWatch will have an informative marquee at the Hawkesbury festival, make sure you visit our marquee to learn more about their Master Fisherman recognition program and for fun activities!

Learn more


Ocean Lovers Festival: Bondi Beach
17th - 22nd March 2020

"The Ocean Lovers Festival is an annual celebration of Ideas, Art+Music and Actions, showcasing some of the latest innovations, science, state-of-the-art technology and cool ideas for helping the oceans."- Ocean Lovers Festival

The festival will include the Big Bondi Beach clean, to be held on the 22nd of March followed by a paddle out for protection aimed at signifying shared passion for protecting our Oceans.  
Learn more


Clean-up Australia Day
Sunday 1st March 2020
Clean-up Australia is on this weekend! 
This iconic event has been running for 3 decades now, it's a fantastic opportunity to do your bit to reduce waste entering a marine ecosystems.
The world is in the grips of a major waste crisis, with unprecedented amounts plastics and other forms of waste entering our marine environment every day. This means it's more important than ever to help reduce the amount of waste entering our ecosystems. 
To do your bit join a clean up near you or create your own event as a community, business or school/youth group. 
Together we can tackle our waste problem.


In The News

Image Source: The Guardian

'Triple whammy': drought, fires and floods push Australian rivers into crisis
"Australia’s rivers are being hit by a “triple whammy” of impacts that will have serious and long-term effects on species and could push some to extinction, according to experts.
Drought, bushfires in river catchments and now widespread heavy rain in the east of the country have created a cascade of impacts on fish, invertebrates and platypus." - The Guardian
Image Source: ABC

Equinor abandons plans to drill for oil in Great Australian Bight for 'commercial' reasons
"Norwegian company Equinor has become the third major fossil fuel producer to abandon plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
The company said it had concluded that its exploration drilling plan was "not commercially competitive" compared with other exploration opportunities." - ABC
Image Source: Tropic Now

Reef scientists on alert for Great Barrier Reef bleaching

"Significant bleaching is likely across much of the Great Barrier Reef over the next few weeks, according to predictions from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch.
An alert level of 1, under which 'significant bleaching is likely', is currently in place from the northern to southern reaches of the world’s largest coral reef system." - Tropic Now

Learn More

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

Climate Change Community Grants

The NSW Government is investing in community-led adaptation projects that deliver positive social, environmental and economic outcomes, while supporting community participation, preparation and resilience to climate change impacts.

The Increasing Resilience to Climate Change Community Grants program supports the objectives of NSW Climate Change Policy Framework by enabling communities and individuals to be better prepared and be more resilient to climate change impacts.

Click here for more details

NSW Seafood Innovation Fund

The NSW Government is offering low interest rate loans to assist commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers to identify and address risks to their business, improve permanent assets and infrastructure, ensure long term productivity and sustainable use of the marine, estuarine and land-based environment.

 The Sunrise Project Small Grants
Grants of up to $5000. Open application process. Their focus is on reducing the impact of coal and gas industries on ecosystems.

Learn more here.

Bushfire Affected Coastal Waterways Grants

The main aim of the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program – Bushfire affected coastal waterways is to assist local councils to implement post fire environmental remedial actions to minimise and mitigate the impacts of bushfires on sensitive estuary and coastal ecosystems.
Learn more here.

Diary Dates

Related Newsletters & Links

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