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National Marine NRM News

November 2019
Merry Christmas from all of us here at OceanWatch, our office will be closed from the 23rd  of December till 6th of January but we look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
Happy Holidays!

In This Edition:


Prawn Trawling on the Hawkesbury River 

On the Monday the 16th of December, OceanWatch joined Gary Howard, a second generation professional prawn fisherman on the Hawkesbury River, to learn about the work our commercial fisherman do to bring fresh, local and sustainable seafood to our plates. 
For almost 30 years Gary has operated a small family owned business supplying premium quality wild Hawkesbury River school prawns, caught, cooked and chilled on his prawn trawler the ‘Kristy Ann’.
Gary's time spent working on the river has given him a great understanding of prawn populations in the river. Being out on his boat was a wonderful opportunity for the new OceanWatch project officers to see how seafood can be fished sustainably, to ensure the river and its resources continues to thrive for generations to come.
Learn more on the
Master Fisherman website.


Marine Muster

On the 3rd of December OceanWatch held the 2019 "Marine Muster" at the Sydney Fish Market. This was an opportunity to gather with other NGOs, also working in the marine space, to update each other on our work throughout the year and discuss future directions.
We had updates from 12 of the NGOs in attendance, these talks focused on four key topics, marine plastics, marine fauna, education and horizons, which sparked interesting and lively discussions about the work currently being undertaken in the marine space. 
Thanks again to everyone that came and joined in the discussion, we look forward to working with you all in the new year.


Parliamentary Friends of Seafood Event, Sydney

Coinciding with World Fisheries Day on the 21st November, The Parliamentary Friends of Seafood Event was held at NSW Parliament House, Sydney. The event, sponsored by Sydney Fish Market, was an opportunity to raise the profile of the NSW seafood industry and recognise those seafood producers that put food on the plate of those who can’t / don’t go out and catch their own.

National Biosecurity Forum, Canberra

The National Biosecurity forum was held in Canberra on the 27th of November at the National Museum of Australia.

Lowri and Simon attended the day to learn how our boarders are protected against potential threats from, the 50 million articles being imported and, the 40 million travellers per year.

The forum gave them the opportunity to meet Detector dogs and see emerging technologies such as Cyber-nose and Cyber-tongue in development. One of the strong messages coming out of the forum was that traceability is the new ‘clean green’ for Australian product.

Internationally, with 1 in 4 pigs lost due to swine flu our island location is always on the cusp of a major incursion and the more people that are vigilant the better chance we stand as a nation. OceanWatch signed the national biosecurity statement in recognition of the importance we hold of Biosecurity to our marine waters.  

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 110 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:
Anthony Ragno

Anthony is a professional fisherman from the Forster/Tuncurry Region, endorsed to fish in the NSW Estuary General Fishery for the past 35 years mainly from Wallis Lake.

Anthony is proud to be a recognised OceanWatch Master Fisherman, responsibly and sustainably harvesting local seafood for seafood consumers.

Learn more.

Murray Ham

Murray is a proud professional fisherman who works in the NSW Ocean Fish Trawl fishery. Murray started fishing in 1974, drawn into the industry through his connection with the ocean and the freedom of being at sea.

For over 20 years Murray was based out of Newcastle. He has worked on, owned and operated trawl boats in the fishing industry for 43 years. He is now teaching his son Alex the ropes, passing on generational acquired knowledge of the ocean.
Learn more.

Get Involved & Do Your Bit

Catchments, Corridors and Coasts
Tuesday 21st - Thursday 23rd January 2020

Catchments, Corridors and Coasts (CCC) is a three-day, professional development course for:
  • Tertiary students and new graduates
  • Community groups and members
  • Youth organisations
  • Teachers and student teachers
  • Sustainable Schools WA participants
  • Private sector personnel
  • Environmental officers
  • Local government officers
  • State Government Department officers
  • Environmental educators
  • TAFE students

You will gain:

  • Resources
  • Practical experience
  • Networking
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Some new fun activities with links to the curriculum
  • Links to practitioners
  • Toolkits for teaching and learning, or for environmental education as a management tool

Numbers are restricted, don't miss out!
Enquiries should be directed to – Catherine Baudains at

Learn more.
Tide to Tip

‘Tide to Tip’, to be held the week of the 17th of February 2020, is a series of Australian oyster industry led clean-up events through which farmers can lead and participate in clean-ups within and surrounding Australian waterways.
Whilst many oyster farmers already participate in estuary clean-ups throughout the year, ‘Tide to Tip’ provides an opportunity to scale up the effort by combining industry effort across NSW and Interstate to collectively improve our nations waterways.
Currently we have expressions of interest from oyster farmers across 17 estuaries in NSW, and 7 producing regions interstate. We have now finalised the details of 11 of the clean-ups:
Port Stephens: Friday 21st February
Hawkesbury River: Friday 21st February
Shoalhaven River: Friday 21st February
Clyde River: Friday 21st February
Tuross Lake: Wednesday 19th February
Wagonga Inlet: Friday 21st February
Wapengo Lagoon: Friday 21st February
Nelsons Lagoon: Monday 17th February
Merimbula Lake: Thursday 20th February
Pambula Lake: Thursday 20th February
Wonboyn Lake: Monday 17th February
If you are interested in getting involved please email, OceanWatch can assist with the organisation of waste collection & disposal, provide rubbish bags, gloves etc. The model for a clean-up is easy to replicate, and local growers can decide if they want to run this as an industry only event, or partner with the local community or other local groups. The more growing regions we can get on board the better – it becomes a much better story, and one that demonstrates the value that the oyster industry places on a healthy environment.


In The News

Image Source: The New Daily

Humpback Whale Population Bounces Back From Near-Extinction—From Just 450, to Over 25,000
"Conservationists are rejoicing after new research showed that whales in the South Atlantic have rebounded from the brink of extinction.
Intense pressure from the whaling industry in the early 1900s saw the western South Atlantic population of humpbacks diminish to only 450 whales, after approximately 25,000 of the mammals were hunted within 12 years.
Protections were put in place in the 1960s after scientists noticed worldwide that populations were declining. In the mid-1980s, the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on all commercial whaling, offering further safeguards for the struggling population." The New Daily

Learn More
Image Source: handmark

Art to the Rescue - Top Award for Ceramic Creations Saving the Spotted Handfish

"When art and science joined forces to save an endangered species, efforts were justly rewarded with one of Tasmania’s most prestigious awards.
Ceramist, Jane Bamford, and a team from the CSIRO, won the Design for Impact Award at Design Tasmania 2019 for their artificial spawning habitats for the spotted handfish.
Once plentiful in the River Derwent, this unique Tasmanian creature is now on the verge of extinction, and Jane hand-made thousands of porcelain straw-like spindles where they can lay eggs." handmark

Learn More

Agriculture and environment to be merged in radical shake-up of public service
"The federal agriculture and environment departments will be merged as part of a major overhaul of the public service announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The number of government departments will shrink from 18 to 14 as part of a move that represents one of the most significant changes to the public sector in decades."
Sydney Morning Herald
Read Here

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Antidepressants and other drugs in water environments changing fish behaviour
"Researchers at Monash University have found the behaviour of fish can change if they ingest pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants that have been incorrectly disposed of." ABC
Read Here

Source: ABC

Marine heatwaves threatening oyster industry and affecting Great Barrier Reef, scientists warn
"Waters off parts of Australia are warming at some of the most rapid rates in the world, threatening the future of some of the country's most important marine industries, scientists say...According to new research, the warming is being driven by climate change and is creating an increase in the frequency, duration and severity of what are known as marine heatwaves (MHWs)." ABC
Read Here

Source: ABC
Menindee prepares for summer, with efforts underway to prevent more mass fish kills
"Efforts are underway in Menindee, in far-west New South Wales, to try to lessen the impact of conditions that are expected to bring more mass fish kills." ABC
Read Here

Source: ABC

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

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.

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program

Applications are open for the 2020 intake of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program.
NSILP is the only national seafood industry specific leadership program, and is designed for people wishing to take up leadership roles within the seafood industry. The focus of the program is for participants to develop an understanding of how to impact constructively, resulting in positive outcomes for the seafood industry. Graduates have gone on to apply their skills to a wide range of areas including regional network development, regional and state industry association boards, and reference committees and effective business management. 
Learn more here.

 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.

Smart Farms-Small Grants

The Australian Government has recently opened the Smart Farm - Small Grants program. You can apply for up to $50,000. Applications close 19th Dec.
This is an open, competitive, grant opportunity to support projects to increase farming, forestry and fishing communities’ awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt best practice.
The purpose of Smart Farms Small Grants is to support land manager practice change that will deliver more sustainable, productive and profitable food, fibre and forestry business while protecting Australia’s biodiversity; protecting and improving the condition of natural resources; and assisting Australia meet its international obligations.
Learn more here.

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