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Media release

19 October 2012

New era for marine research

The future direction of marine research in southern Australia will be a major topic at a science symposium to be held in Adelaide today.

The symposium has been organised by the State Government initiative, Marine Innovation Southern Australia (MISA). 

South Australian Research and Development Institute Executive Director and MISA Steering Committee member, Professor Pauline Mooney says that South Australia is now positioned to undertake marine research activities to support a new era of advanced fishery management.

“This focuses on sustaining healthy marine ecosystems as well as the fisheries they support,” she says.

Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide and MISA Steering Committee member, Professor Robert Hill, says the method is known as ecosystem based fishery management. “It means scientists look closely at not only the target species to be fished but the habitats, food webs, predators and prey of the target species, ocean current systems, and other fishing and human activities that are part of the target species’ environment.”

Professor David Day from Flinders University and MISA Steering Committee member adds “This approach ensures that a healthy environment and fishery is maintained and the best possible science and practices are used to manage South Australia’s important fisheries.”

MISA, established in 2005, has significantly boosted South Australia’s expertise and infrastructure laying the foundations for this type of large scale marine study, improve our understanding of the marine environment and to further support our premium seafood industries.

The State Government has provided $18.5 million toward the MISA initiative over the past seven years. MISA Chair Professor Rob Lewis says this has led to the employment of 40 researchers, a major expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre at Port Lincoln, and the establishment of the South Australian Aquatic Biosecurity Centre at Roseworthy Campus. 

‘The investment has delivered more than 280 projects that enhance the quality of our seafood, protect our aquatic resources, provide solutions to help aquaculture diversify and grow, and develop a comprehensive understanding of our ocean’s marine systems,” he says.

It has also led to the establishment of a Federal Government initiative, the $9.1 million Southern Australian Integrated Marine Observing System, which is based in Adelaide and is part of the Integrated Marine Observing system – one of the most highly regarded marine monitoring systems in the world.

The symposium showcasing MISA’s significant innovations, achievements and future directions is being held at SARDI Aquatic Sciences, West Beach, on Friday 19 October. A second symposium will be held in Port Lincoln on Tuesday 30 October.  These events will be attended by fishing industry leaders, marine researchers and project funders and collaborators.

A publication documenting MISA impacts called ‘The first seven years: a foundation for the future’ will be launched at the event.

MISA, an initiative of the Government of South Australia, is a partnership between the South Australian Research and Development Institute, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, the South Australian Museum, Primary Industries and Regions SA, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, and the SA seafood industry.

Further information:

Professor Pauline Mooney, MISA Steering Committee member and SARDI Executive Director: 8303 9398 /  0434 072 743 or Pauline.mooney@sa.gov.au

Heather Riddell, MISA Communications, 0417 851936 or heather.riddell@sa.gov.au

For high resolution photos and a copy of the MISA report:  www.misa.net.au