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National Marine NRM News 

March 2023
In This Edition:


Oyster Growers Clean-up Our Estuaries
For the past four years, oyster growers have been putting their best foot forward and organising clean-up events at their local estuaries and beaches. In February 2023, the fourth annual Tide to Tip was held, and it was a huge success. With 211 volunteers dedicating 624 volunteer hours to cleaning-up, they have successfully removed 11870kgs of marine debris from estuaries and beaches across NSW and interstate this year. It is great to see this initiative make a significant impact, with over 20 clean-ups taking place in February. 

During the clean-up events we often come across some  strange and unexpected items, including the two unusual items pictured below,  found in estuaries on the NSW south coast. 

We are thrilled to see the Tide to Tip initiative continuing to grow and make such a positive impact. Thank you to all those involved in making this event such a success. 

This project is supported by OceanWatch Australia, through funding from the Australian Government. 
Reducing Whale Entanglement Risk
OceanWatch has been working with stakeholders across Australia's east coast to proactively reduce the risk of whale entanglement and minimise interaction with fishing gear. This includes development and industry adoption of a Code of Practice which provides guidance and recommendations on how to minimise the likelihood of whale interaction or entanglement in fishing gear, as well as information on what to do and who to contact in the event of an entanglement.

 On 29th March, a co-design workshop was held in Mooloolaba, funded by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Participants in the workshop included OceanWatch, professional fishers, industry representatives, researchers, managers, and others. The participants learned from guest speakers who shared information on whale migration, tracking, disentanglement and rescue. They also discussed and demonstrated current best practice techniques and potential improvements for their fishing gear. OceanWatch and professional fishers, with wider stakeholder input, worked on strategies to reduce the risks associated with whale entanglement in NSW. The industry agreed on some priority areas for gear trials and testing of the proposed solutions.

OceanWatch will continue to work with stakeholders in QLD, NSW and TAS to develop and implement strategies to reduce whale entanglement risks with professional fisheries.
New Faces at OceanWatch
We’re thrilled to introduce two new members of our team: Dave and Inga! Dave  previously worked as a QLD SeaNet officer for OceanWatch delivering extension services to industry and has over 12 years experience as a Scientific Observer for Australian Fisheries Management Authority. He has returned to OceanWatch for a project working closely with Queensland fishers to develop industry codes of best practice. Inga has joined us as a Project Officer, she is passionate about natural resource management, circular economies, and the role that humans play in shaping our landscapes.  Inga will be working on shell, plastic, and timber recycling in the NSW Oyster Industry. We’re  excited to have Dave and Inga on board and can’t wait to see the great work they’ll do at OceanWatch.
Goodbye to Familiar Faces
We want to take this opportunity to say farewell to Emily and Siobhan, who are leaving our team. Emily joined OceanWatch in July 2021 as an intern and later took on a Project Officer role, Emily has been the OceanWatch all rounder working across most of our initiatives, her main focus was recognition of fishers trained through the Master Fisherman Program. Siobhan has been with OceanWatch since 2019 and worked closely with the NSW Abalone and SUTS fisheries on industry best practice, and sea urchin management  measures. She also worked on several initiatives to combat debris in our marine ecosystems. We’re grateful for Emily and Siobhan’s contributions and will miss having them in the team. We wish them both all the best in their future endeavors.

The OceanWatch Master Fisherman program involves formal training and assessment for professional fishers and oyster growers, and supplementary development of online profiles to help demonstrate individual commitment to responsible practices. 
The OceanWatch Master Fisherman program is continuing to raise the standard of responsible fishing and aquaculture in Australia. Recognised OceanWatch Master Fisherman showcase the drive for sustainability and environmental awareness in the Australian seafood industry.

Learn more.
Greg Sichter

Greg Sichter is a highly experienced third-generation fisherman who started helping his Dad from the age of seven. He became a professional fisherman in 1977. Greg fishes out of his Bonito and McLay boats, depending on what he is chasing. He loves being his own boss and being able to pass on his knowledge to both professional and recreational fishers. He takes pride in supplying a top quality product and still loves the excitement of the catch.
Ben Barnes

Ben Barnes is a 5th generation professional fisherman who fishes the Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Ben began fishing at 15 years old on his father’s crab boat, before buying his own marine scale net fishing licence at 16. Ben began professionally fishing in 1996, and currently works from a 7.5 metre flat bottom fibreglass net boat and a 40ft Andy Ferro Seahawk. Ben loves the lifestyle of being a fisherman and working in a clean environment.

Learn more. 

Get Involved

Taste of Seafood Festival comes to Yamba
Attention all seafood lovers! The next Taste of Seafood Festival is coming to Yamba this weekend Friday 31st March and Saturday 1st April at Yamba Golf & Country Club. This is a unique opportunity to sample all the delicious locally caught seafood and support the local professional fishers. The OceanWatch team will be there and we encourage you to come say hello. 

The festivities kick off on the Friday night from 6pm with food trucks, craft beer & wine, live music and Fireworks on sunset and Saturday is the Main Event starting from 9.30am!

Come down to enjoy the following:
~ fresh local seafood & market stalls
~ Cooking demonstrations
~ Live music
~ Kids activities
~ Industry & Educational displays
~ plus much more

National Marine NRM Plan 2023-27 Public Survey
OceanWatch Australia is compiling the new National Marine Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan for the next five years. After a round of state/territory-based workshops that took place November last year, we would now like to hear from community members what you think about the objectives and actions included in this new plan.

This is your chance to have your say. By completing the survey, you may win a $100 Bunnings voucher! The survey will remain open until the end of April, so make sure you don't miss out.

Find the survey here, and please share it with your network.

This project is supported by OceanWatch Australia, through funding from the Australian Government.

In The News

Sustainable Seafood Awards

The winners of the Sustainable Seafood Awards Australia 2023 have been announced by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to celebrate the organisations and individuals working to ensure seafood supplies are safeguarded for this and future generations. The awards coincide with Sustainable Seafood Week, a campaign to raise awareness of the MSC and ASC seafood certification labels.

Some of the award recipients include ALDI for the best sustainable seafood supermarket, Austral Fisheries for the best sustainable seafood product, Mars Petcare Australia for the best sustainable petfood product, and Manni Kalisperis from Simplot for the lifetime achievement award. The awards also recognised community champions, sustainable fishing heroes, and innovation leaders in the seafood sector.

Read more.

IPCC’s Final Warning on Climate Change

In the  IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report, the top climate scientists in the world have released their final statement on climate change. The report demonstrates that we are experiencing a climate emergency and that we must take immediate action to prevent catastrophic repercussions. The study affirms that the observed changes in the climate system are primarily the result of human activity, and that many of these changes are harmful and irreversible. The study outlines the advantages of keeping global warming below 1.5°C or 2°C and points out the strategies and actions needed to do so. The study urges immediate, rapid, and widespread cuts in glasshouse gas emissions as well as adaptation to climate change's inevitable effects. 

Learn more. 

Australia’s Shallow Reefs are Declining with Warming Seas

The majority of shallow reef species in Australia have decreased over the past ten years, particularly in the temperate south, according to a recent study published in Nature. Data gathered by volunteer divers who took part in the Reef Life Survey served as the basis for the research. The research discovered that as water temperatures increased above average, heatwaves were the primary cause of population declines. Numerous species struggled near the edges of their warm ranges, and some were entrapped by barriers in the deep ocean and were in danger of going extinct. The research also discovered that coral populations held steady despite Great Barrier Reef bleaching episodes. The research emphasises the pressing need for tropical and temperate reef ecosystem conservation and monitoring.

Read the article here

Grants, Awards and Opportunities 

National Seafood Industry Leadership Program ONLINE 2023

 Affectus is offering the Online National Seafood Industry Leadership Program (NSILP) again in 2023. NSILP  is the only national industry-specific leadership program designed in consultation with seafood industry people for people wishing to take up leadership roles within the seafood industry. This program has been designed specifically for learning in a virtual space with sessions commencing 2nd May and concluding 19th September 2023. Applications close COB 31st March 23.

Learn more.

Aquaculture Industry Engagement and Communications Survey

This survey is part of the project “Mapping the aquaculture engagement and aquaculture literacy landscape” which is being undertaken by Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) and funded by the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC).
The information collected through this survey will be used to inform activities to strengthen outreach and communications platforms and other external engagement for the Australian aquaculture sectors. The survey closes 31st March 2023.

Learn more.

World Aquaculture Conference Registrations

Registrations are open for the World Aquaculture conference being held in Darwin from 29 May to 1 June 2023. The event will feature keynote speakers, innovative research, workshops, tours, and world class sunsets. Plus, over 80 exhibitors and a dynamic program of events, will explore the theme, Supporting Strength in Aquaculture. Register and lock in your accommodation early to avoid disappointment.

Learn more.

WISA World Aquaculture Conference Bursary

Women in Seafood Australasia (WISA), supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, are offering bursaries for women in aquaculture to attend World Aquaculture Conference 2023 in Darwin, 29 May – 1 June 2023. The bursaries are designed for women, who are passionate about their work and the Aquaculture industry, and who want to develop their networks, connections, and capacity.

Learn more.

Tidy Cities Sustainability Awards 2023

The Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Tidy Cities Sustainability Awards open 31st March 2023. These awards acknowledge and celebrate metropolitan Councils, organisations, and communities who are making our cities more sustainable and liveable. They also to provide a medium through which we can all apply learnings, feedback, and ideas to current or future projects.

Learn more.

The Sunrise Project Small Grants program

An open application process for small grants of up to $5,000 for community groups working to hasten the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy or to protect Australia’s ecosystems from the negative impacts of the coal and gas industries. 

Learn more.

Wettenhall Environment Trust's Small Environmental Grant Scheme

Providing support for people undertaking projects that will make a positive difference to the natural living environment, in land, sea or air, rural or urban. Supports grassroots organisations and individuals, and academics who are working with on-ground community groups. Includes four rounds every year. Grants are usually $10,000 and focus on flora and fauna conservation or threatened mammal conservation.

Learn more.

Marine NRM Coastal Directory

The Marine NRM Coastal Directory is designed to connect people and skill sets reducing silos between disciplines. This free register, publicly available on the OceanWatch website, is an easy way to engage new colleagues and extend your network, helping to fuel the growth of Australia's blue-green innovations. Key information on Researchers, Natural Resource Management Agents, and Suppliers working in the marine environment, are now accessible in one place.

Create your account or search for others

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