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Media Release

How will Australian fisheries manage as the impacts of climate change start to bite?

Seven of Australia's leading researchers will look at the many challenges presented by climate change and the tools and knowledge being developed to help industry adapt, at a special FREE half-day symposium being held as part of the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) conference in July.

The Symposium, sponsored by Marine Innovation SA (MISA) and called Australian seafood industry response to a carbon-based future, is being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, 9th July, 2009, from 1:30 to 5pm in Meeting Room 3.

The session brings together available science that can assist in identifying the climate change drivers and future “landscapes” in which seafood industries will potentially be operating.  The session also looks at the impact on seafood industries and how to best respond in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and in identifying opportunities. 

Oceanographic equiptment being deployed off SARDI's research vessel, Ngerin
Session highlights

Sea change in Response to Climate Change: impacts, risks and opportunities for industry in a carbon-constrained future

Finding opportunities within a carbon-constrained marketplace may well provide the edge that seafood businesses need to survive.

Key-note speaker, Professor Anthony Cheshire says the seafood industry needs to refine and in some cases, redefine, production systems. It also needs to develop a clear understanding of the international, national and local context of both climate change and the business rules of a carbon-constrained marketplace.

Pressure will come in the short term from issues such as a direct cost on carbon emissions and the use of non-tariff trade barriers such as carbon labelling where producers are required to document the carbon footprint of their products on packaging. This will have a direct impact on market access and consumer acceptance.

In the medium to longer term, industry has to respond to the physical impact of climate change, not only on their own business operations but also on their markets and suppliers.

Time: 13.30 – 13.50
Contact: Prof Anthony Cheshire on (08) 8370 0032 or 0433 022 248

Professor Cheshire, a former Chief SARDI Aquatic Sciences, has 25 years experience as a leading marine scientist with an international reputation for work on environmental assessment in the coastal zone. As Managing Director of Science to Manage Uncertainty, Professor Cheshire provides companies with independent research to support management and decision making.

The Biophysical Landscape of the Southern Australian Shelves: measurement, modelling, climate and climate change

Oceans dictate climate. Yet little is known about ocean currents and the fundamental planktonic ecosystems they support and which sustain our valuable fisheries.

A world-leading study led by MISA scientist, Associate Professor John Middleton using the Southern Australian Integrated Marine Observing System, is now providing data to understand the climate of ocean biophysical systems. It also has capacity to monitor for the effects of climate change.

Scientists from SARDI Aquatic Sciences and Flinders University are now developing a hydrodynamic and biogeochemical modelling facility to put this data to work to provide scenario studies of possible climate change and impacts on both the shelves and gulfs for the SA region and eastern Victoria.

Professor Middleton will discuss the progress being made and the data streaming in via satellite from a variety of platforms such as shelf moorings and sea gliders that is already revealing startling new information from the ocean depths about currents, salinities, turbidity, temperature and biological properties of the seawater.

Time: 14.10 – 14.30
Contact: Professor Middleton (08) 8207 5449 or 0402 226 490

Professor Middleton has an outstanding record in research of ocean dynamics and coastal ocean modelling, and leads SARDI Aquatic Sciences Oceanography program and is lead scientist for the $6.59 m Southern Australian Integrated Observing System.  

Climate change impacts and the challenges associated with developing adaptation options for Australia’s fisheries

The total annual value of the goods and services of Australia’s marine areas has been estimated at $1,359.3 billion, with around two-thirds of this derived from our diverse coastal and shelf areas.

Dr Greta Pecl, a leading researcher in climate change and adaptation, says that our understanding of the current and potential impacts of climate change, particularly in the marine context, has not moved at the same rapid pace as increasing public awareness and acceptance of climate change as a major issue.

Dr Pecl will present an overview of the potential impacts of climate change on Australia’s fisheries resources, and highlight some of the challenges unique to this sector before emphasising some key messages from a recent case study that have broad relevance on a global scale.

Time: 14.10 – 14.30
Contact: Dr Gretta Pecl (03) 6227 7243 or 0408 626 792

Dr Pecl, the 2009 Tasmanian Fulbright Tasmania Scholar, is a Research Fellow leading several projects within the Climate Change Theme at the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, and a Research Fellow on the Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources. She will be working on climate change impacts on Alaskan fisheries next year.

Predicting Changes to Seascapes under Future Climate, with the Coorong as a case study

The seafood industry must be ready to adapt to climate change before its impact reduces the industry’s sustainability.

Professor Peter Fairweather from Flinders University School of Biological Sciences says it is already anticipated that tropical elements will expand in range but cold-temperate communities will contract or disappear altogether from South Australia. This will be noticeable over the next 20 to 50 years.

Well informed managerial decisions, such as the allocation of fishing effort, will be vital.
Professor Fairweather has used models he has produced for the CLLAMMecology program describing the ecosystem states of the Coorong and Murray Mouth, to predict the likely implications of a range of climate change and management scenarios to highlight the potential impact on commercial fishing opportunities. 

Time: 14.30 – 14.50
Contact: Professor Fairweather (08) 8463 4851 or (08) 8201 5021
peter.fairweather@flinders.edu.au or fairweather.peter@saugov.sa.gov.au

Peter Fairweather is Professor of Marine Biology at Flinders University and a quantitative ecologist with more than 30 year’s experience. His research interests span the ecology of coastal environments and, in particular, the assessment of human impacts on biotic assemblages. He is currently seconded as a Scientific Advisor to the Coast and Marine Conservation Brach of DEH assisting the establishment of 19 marine parks.

Predicting Impacts of Climate Change on South Australian Aquaculture: risk assessment, business susceptibility and ecological assays

What are the real and potential effects of climate change on aquaculture in southern Australia?
MISA scientist Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw is developing a world-first document that draws together information about physiological tolerances of the most susceptible life stages of farmed species to changes in temperature, salinity, pH, chemistry and nutrients. He is gathering some of this information from the newly installed Southern Australian Integrated Marine Observing System which is revealing new knowledge about our oceans. The information will be combined with existing climate change information from the industry sector to determine the likely impact of climate change scenarios on business operations.

Professor Bradshaw says the coastal and inshore waters of south-eastern Australia have experienced some of the greatest changes in recent years in the Southern Hemisphere. He says the knowledge that will be gained from this project extends well beyond aquaculture in Australia. It has major implications for understanding the response of wild fishes and for marine biota in general.

Time: 15.20 – 15.40
Contact: Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw (08) 8303 5842 or 0400 679 665

Corey Bradshaw, Associate Professor, Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, is a joint MISA appointment with the University of Adelaide and SARDI Aquatic Sciences. He is a conservation ecologist who uses mathematics and biological data to examine and understand the ways in which species respond to changing environments, changes effected from habitat loss, fragmentation, climate change, over-exploitation and invasive species.

Use of Risk Assessment within an Ecosystem-based Fisheries management framework to provide practical advice on the management priorities generated by climate change

Methods to assess the potential long term risks of climate change facing marine ecosystems, habitats and target fisheries species have been developed by the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.

Dr Rick Fletcher, Principal Scientist Marine Policy with the Department, will discuss how these risks can be integrated into leading edge Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management systems. WA trials are looking to ensure that ecological, social and economic needs will be met as climate change takes hold.

Time: 15.40 – 16.00
Contact: Dr Rick Fletcher (08) 9246 8465 or 0418 884 236

Applying Techniques for Climate Change in Agriculture to the Sea

Can the challenges, successes and mistakes in the field of climate change adaption in agriculture be applied to help the seafood industries prepare for the future?

Dr Peter Hayman, leader of SARDI's Climate Applications Unit, will share insights in this dynamic field, including dealing with uncertainty, the difficulties in identifying key vulnerabilities and impacts and the dangers of over-estimating or under-estimating future adaptive capacity.

Dr Hayman says there’s a lot to be learned from how we are already managing current climate variability for future change, particularly within the wine and farmland industries.

Time: 16.00 – 16.20
Contact: Dr Peter Hayman (08) 8303 9729 or 0401 996 448

Dr Hayman leads SARDI’s Climate Applications Unit which is highly regarded as a pioneer in climate applications science and leading-edge training and marketing of climate applications tools.  Dr Hayman and his team work closely with decision makers in grains, viticulture and natural resource management to help them assess and manage climate risk in agricultural systems.

The Symposium will finalise with a 40 minute open discussion panel session involving all the speakers who will be available to answer any questions from the public.

To attend your free session you must register with MISA before 8th July to madigan.stephen@saugov.sa.gov.au

Further information: Stephen Madigan 8207 5490 or 0401 122 171