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WA's local marine knowledge scores $4.2m boost.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E 1 WILSON TUCKEY

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR O’CONNOR 30/05/2006

WA’S LOCAL MARINE KNOWLEDGE SCORES $4.2M BOOST

Regions from Kalbarri to Esperance will soon have detailed knowledge of their coastal and marine environments, thanks to a $4.2 million Natural Heritage Trust-funded project.

Details of the project were today announced by the Australian and Western Australian governments.

Mr Wilson Tuckey said the Securing WA Marine Futures initiative would focus on obtaining data about key Western Australian coastal and marine areas. “Specific information about our marine environments and their condition is a bit patchy,” Mr Tuckey said.

“The Marine Futures project will give regional bodies, coastal communities, the recreational and commercial fishing industry and governments scientific advice needed to determine funding and planning priorities. Most of the funding is going into a mix of on-ground field work and community awareness and education activities.”

Mr Tuckey said the project would produce a comprehensive habitat map, a searchable database and a practical and cost-effective ‘how-to’ guide for monitoring marine resources.

“The map will form part of Australia’s first continuous marine habitat mapping system, extending from the coastline to 200 nautical miles off-shore and going more than 1,000 metres deep, Wilson Tuckey said.

“Information collected through the field work will provide data on rare and at-risk species, as well as on migratory animals protected under national and international legislation and agreements. The fishing industry is also going to benefit significantly from this project, which will give business owners a sound technical basis to pursue more sustainable fishing practices. “

“The Marine Futures project is an excellent example of how the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust is giving communities practical ways to manage their natural resources.”

The partnership project involves five regional natural resource management groups, researchers such as the University of Western Australia, and representatives from the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council, the Conservation Council and Australian and State government agencies.

For more information about the project contact Jessica Meeuwig on (08) 6488 1464. For more detail about the Natural Heritage Trust visit www.nrm.gov.au

Media contact: Alana Lacy 08 98 426228

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