Our work

Our work is based on three core objectives:

  1. to protect and enhance our coasts and estuaries
  2. to rehabilitate coastal and estuarine habitats
  3. to advance the sustainability of the seafood industry

We undertake our work across Australia in partnership with the seafood industry, federal and state governments, natural resource managers, private enterprise, local communities and other environmental bodies. We also have strong connections and close working relationships with local commercial fishermen through our SeaNet staff located in each state that on-ground deliver projects around Australia.

1. Protecting our coasts and estuaries

OceanWatch Australia works hard to protect our coasts and estuaries.  We do this in several ways.

  • We provide information and advice to governments, Natural Resource Management (NRM) managers, the community and other coastal and marine stakeholders about issues that impact on the environment, on fish and seafood habitats and ultimately the seafood industry. We also advise on coastal and marine planning matters and government policies.
  • We work with land and marine producers (through Tide to Table and SeaNet programs) to improve environments that have been degraded and to change behaviours and practices to be more sustainable.
  • We participate on various national and state committees to ensure that environmental issues that impact on the sustainability of seafood are recognised and addressed.
  • We attend community events with our education displays and materials to raise awareness
    • We develop educational material for schools, fishers, and local communities.

2. Rehabilitating habitats

OceanWatch Australia’s rehabilitation approach includes two programs;

The Tide to Table program undertakes projects to improve environments that have been degraded, as well as to change the behaviour and practices which cause these problems in the first place. The Tide to Table program established in 2004, has been very successful as it involves all the players that are affected by a habitat – ¬†local land and marine producers, businesses, communities and government agencies – working together to find practical ‚Äėon-ground‚Äô solutions to problems.¬† These solutions often involve the rehabilitation of river systems that lead to estuaries by;

  • improving the water quality and fish habitat, and
  • ultimately rebuild resilience and life back into the environment.

The Tide to Table program also involves the following elements

  • Mounting educational displays targeted at seafood consumers and non-English speaking visitors to the Sydney Fish Market,
  • Running connectivity tours for government, industry or community groups to learn about the catchment, water quality and the factors that affect seafood habitat and production
  • Holding skills workshops for local government and other groups
  • Creating displays and signage to educate audiences on the links between land based activities and downstream fish habitat.

The TAngler Bins Project involves the introduction of TAngler bins and signage to recreational areas, beaches and other fishing spots and to educate recreational fishers about the safe disposal of fishing line litter that is harmful to native birds and other animals. Since commencement over 10 tons of fishing line debris has been recycled.

3. Advancing a sustainable seafood industry and SeaNet

The SeaNet program is our key program to advance a more sustainable future for our fisheries and seafood industry.  This program has been running since 1999 and currently operates in around Australia; QLD (Far North and South East), NT, WA, NSW, VIC, TAS and SA. This national environmental extension involves our SeaNet officers working directly with professional (and recreational) fishers in each state/territory to improve sustainable behaviours and practices. The SeaNet project is directed by a National Steering Committee and supported by state reference groups. The Steering Committee sets and oversees the SeaNet Strategic Plan, and meets several times a year. The SeaNet extension service also works with fishers, managers and researchers to develop cost effective and practical solutions that will reduce the environmental impacts of fishing and achieve lasting behavioural change among industry members. This includes:

As well, the Australian Government is using SeaNet to raise awareness of marine pests among fishers and ensure the take up of new protocols aimed at preventing the introduction of marine pests in fisheries that are currently pest free.