Saving the world’s oceans one community at a time

Officially recognised by the United Nations since 2008, World Ocean’s Day creates awareness and celebrates our ocean environments. Events are organised globally with 35 currently planned in Australia.  However, the effort to promote and conserve our oceans is ongoing and UOW recognises this by advancing impactful maritime research. UOW’s resolve for preserving the marine environment is highlighted by the projects funded by its strategic interdisciplinary research initiative, Global Challenges.

One of the challenge themes of the Global Challenge Program is Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones. Currently there are more than 100 UOW researchers working across disciplines on projects aimed to protect and preserve our marine environments.

Dr Quentin Hanich ANCORS

Dr Quentin Hanich ANCORS

One such project is Conservation and Equity in Pacific Tuna, headed up by Dr Quentin Hanich, Fisheries Governance Research Program Program Leader at UOW’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS). Dr Hanich is a Research Associate to the Nereus Program, and joined the Nereus Program as a Principal Investigator in 2017.  The tuna governance project proposes to address the political stalemate currently undermining the sustainable management of Pacific tuna fisheries, the world’s largest tuna fishery. Unless resolved, overfishing will impact the long term sustainability of these fisheries, resulting in significant conservation concerns, and limiting future development opportunities for some Pacific small island developing states.

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Sustaining the world’s tuna stocks is a global challenge

Yellowfin tuna can be found in the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: ThinkStock

Yellowfin tuna can be found in the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: ThinkStock

By Brooke Campbell, UOW-ANCORS

If you’ve ever enjoyed a tuna steak, had tuna sashimi, or relied on canned tuna for a quick meal, there’s a roughly 60 per cent chance that this tuna was caught somewhere in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).

This vast ocean area is home to more than 22 Pacific Islands and overseas territories as well as countless marine species. Many of these species, like tuna, travel great distances across numerous international, national, and domestic legal maritime boundaries every year in search of food, breeding grounds, and favourable ocean conditions.

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Notes from Madrid: sea level rises and shifting baselines

Much of the author's work focuses on coastal wetlands. Photo credit: ThinkStock

Much of the author’s work focuses on coastal wetlands. Photo credit: ThinkStock

By Dr Kerrylee Rogers

Global increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing temperatures, melting ice caps and causing sea-level rise. With 44 per cent of the world’s population living within the coastal zone, this is of particular concern for coastal nations and the humanitarian implications of sea level rise will be significant.

However, the less tangible links to society may be felt through the loss of ecosystem services over time, such as fisheries production, coastal protection and carbon sequestration.

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Could climate change lead to the last Australian beach?

The seaside town of Galway, in Ireland, home to the National University of Ireland. Photo credit: ThinkStock

The seaside town of Galway, in Ireland, home to the National University of Ireland. Photo credit: ThinkStock

Recently ANCORS marine economist Professor Alistair McIlgorm visited two research centres for marine and coastal studies in Ireland with some travel assistance from UOW’s Global Challenges Program. The exposure to the work of some other researcher raised some worrying questions for any Australian beach lovers!

By Alistair McIlgorm

The first visit was a short stop in Galway, National University of Ireland, to renew academic links with Dr Stephen Hynes who leads the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU). The centre has recently produced research on the marine economy in Ireland and has extended this through the MARNET project.

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Wollongong vs Kiel: comparing the challenges facing our coastal regions

The Kiel Canal, which connects the Baltic and the North Sea, at the locks in Kiel-Holtenau and the Kiel Fjord. Photo credit: Barbara Neumann

The Kiel Canal, which connects the Baltic and the North Sea, at the locks in Kiel-Holtenau and the Kiel Fjord. Photo credit: Barbara Neumann

By Dr Barbara Neumann

If we turn our inner eye on the coast we may see different things.

We see beaches, cliffs and headlands; fishing, bathing, surfing, sailing; land, estuaries, lagoons, sand spits, sea, or sea country; industries, mining, tourism, shipping, energy farming; marshes, mangroves, dunes, coastal forests. Sometimes we see storms, surges, flooding, and erosion, or do we see ‘seachange’?

Coasts – or rather coastal zones – are complex systems where humans and nature, land and sea have long interacted, though lately at an increasing rate.

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