National Marine Science Plan supports WA’s ocean research priorities

·       $100 billion benefit to the blue economy
·       Gaps in national ocean observation modelling
·       WA well placed with NMSP and the State’s Blueprint for Marine Science 2050

The Western Australian Marine Science Institution has welcomed the release of the National Marine Science Plan’s key recommendations which sets national priorities for research and importantly addresses the gaps in research capability.

“The National Marine Science Plan gives clear direction on what we, as a nation, need to do to support a sustainable blue economy,” WAMSI CEO Patrick Seares said. “With such enormous marine territories, and the growing activities within them, a national response with national resources, is absolutely critical to underpin regional and project level science and development activities.”

The National Marine Science Plan recommendations include; creating an explicit focus on the blue economy, long term monitoring to help manage State and Commonwealth Marine Reserves; an emphasis on a coordinated national approach to marine studies to establish benchmarks and predict likely changes in Australia’s marine environment.

“Activities such as the nation-building oil and gas industry, ambitions for expanded sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the expansion of coastal and deep water marine reserves, and coastal development put Western Australia at the forefront of the $100 billion blue economy outlined in the Plan,” Mr Seares said.

“However, our level of understanding about how the ocean works is still catching up with the knowledge needed to identify new opportunities for industry, make operations more efficient, and improve environmental management.

“The Blueprint for Marine Science 2050 for Western Australia, launched in April, outlined in some detail the priority knowledge needed by industry and government off the Western Australian coast. We are already taking the next steps about bringing industry, government and the research sector together to face this challenge.

“The National Marine Science Plan now provides the clear and necessary impetus at the national level to work together more effectively, invest properly in priority gaps, and provide the information that will help us in Western Australia, but also all jurisdictions, “ Mr Seares said.

The NMSP highlights WAMSI among the most effective mechanisms for collaboration created over the last decade: “These need to be sustained as they are fundamental to the implementation of this Plan and the support of our blue economy.” (NMSP p37)

“We welcome the opportunity to continue to develop strategies for collaborative marine research that reflect the long-term vision for the State and Australia,” Mr Seares said.