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National Marine NRM News

At OceanWatch we have been working hard to develop solutions to the issues surrounding the drought, bushfires and flooding that has affected Australia in recent months, due to this we have been delayed in releasing this issue.
In This Edition:


Tangaroa Blue Clean-Up

OceanWatch’s Simon Rowe spent a week in the Coral Sea late December with Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Auswaste and volunteers as a component of the ReefClean program. The mission was to visit many small offshore islands north of Cooktown to collect marine debris and collate as much information on each piece for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. So what do you think was collected? See a portion of it being sorted in the image below.

This information is being used to undertake the next steps in reducing or eliminating these items ending up on our shores. In particular, we are working on a source reduction plan for the Professional fishing use of Cyalume light sticks. Call up if you have any thoughts. Also of interest and found on this trip are a new type of sophisticated FAD (Fish Attracting Device), illegal in Australian waters but being used by fisheries in the pacific to target pelagic species such as Tuna. They incorporate LED lighting, solar panels and some have sonar transducers to indicate presence of fish below to transmit the information to the fleet. If you do come across one please let us know where.

More information on this expedition can be found here.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Oceanwatch Australia.
The Fish Attracting Device that was found

Responding to the Bushfire Crisis

The bushfire crisis that Australia experienced this season has been felt far and wide throughout the Australian community. At OceanWatch we are deeply concerned about the current situation, due to the far reaching effects  it continues to have on our people, properties and our natural environment. The ongoing bushfire emergency will significantly impact the unique ecosystems in our rivers, creeks and estuaries for many months to come. 

OceanWatch Australia will be working with Commonwealth, State and Local governments, as well as with industry, affected communities, and our land based NRM counterparts on emergency actions to mitigate further impacts on our extraordinary waterways.

At the heart of our operations will always be the involvement, problem solving capabilities of our local seafood industry and affected communities, similar to Landcare - but for the marine. We will continue to strive towards solutions that help our nation recover from the current disaster.

Please contact OceanWatch if you have lost infrastructure due to the recent crisis, or if you have concerns about aquatic and marine habitat. We will do all will can to continue to support our people and our waterways. 


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:
Hayden DeLacy

Hayden De Lacy is based in the Hawkesbury region. While he was looking for a real sea change with his career, he came across the Hawkesbury River and felt in love with this new work environment. He owns his business (i-prawn) and has been fishing on his trawler Penny Lou for the past 4 years.
He is looking forward to work with his colleagues on the Hawkesbury to promote sustainability, wild caught fishing activities and with the help of local communities to promote and support the local fishing industry as a viable attraction within the Hawkesbury region.

Learn more.

Ricky Howard

Ricky is a second generation professional prawn fisherman endorsed to fish in the Hawkesbury River. He grows up on the river heavily involved in commercial and recreation boats. He has been a professional fisherman for 15 seasons.

Ricky is currently fishing on the UPSET. His boat is optimized to reduce bycatch: square mesh codend, turtle excluder device, large sorting tray, etc.
Learn more.

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


Tide to Tip
17th-23rd February 2020

‘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.
We have now finalised the details of 21 of the clean-ups:
Nambucca River: Tuesday 18th February
Macleay River: Thursday 20th February
Hastings River: Saturday 22nd February
Camden Haven River: Thursday 20th February
Manning River: Saturday 22nd February
Wallis Lake: Thursday 20th February
Port Stephens: Friday 21st February
Hawkesbury River: Friday 21st February
Brisbane Water: Tuesday 18th February
Georges River: Thursday 20th February
Jervis Bay: Friday 21st February
Shoalhaven River: Wednesday 19th 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
Moreton Bay: Tuesday 25th February
Tweed River: Wednesday 26th 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: ABC 

NSW bushfires sparks mass fish kill at Macleay River on Mid-North Coast
A mass fish kill occurred in a 60-70km stretch of the Macleay River near Bellbrook, north-west of Kempsey, last weekend...The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) confirmed it received reports of mass fish deaths due to run off from recent rain..."DPI fisheries staff have been on high alert for these circumstances since the commencement of the bushfire season," a spokesman said. - ABC
Learn More

$5 million for bushfire affected coastal waterways

"The NSW Government is providing $5 million for councils to take immediate action to ease the impact of bushfires on coastal waterways...Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the NSW Government is committed to supporting councils to mitigate the effects of the recent bushfires on sensitive estuary ecosystems." - NSW government

Learn more
Image Source: ABC

Dubbo fish kill won't be the last as drought, fire raise extinction risk, ecologists warn

"A renowned angler says a mass fish kill in the parched Macquarie River in New South Wales this week left the waterway looking like "tomato soup."
Tens of thousands of fish of all sizes and species are estimated to have perished near Dubbo, in the state's west, after much-needed rain washed sediment into the river, causing dissolved oxygen levels to drop rapidly." - ABC

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.

Traceability Grants Programs- Round 1

The Australian Government is inviting applications through an open competitive process to apply to deliver services under the Traceability Grants Program – Round 1 (the program).

The program was announced as part of the Modernising Agricultural Trade initiative. This program provides opportunities for successful applicants to conduct projects that will enhance the supply chain traceability systems and arrangements that support the export of our agricultural commodities.
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.

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

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