July 10, 2012
From ABC news online www.abc.net.au
WA Government invests in ocean research
The State Government is investing $6 million into ocean and climate research off the Pilbara and Kimberley coast.
State-of-the-art equipment such as robot-like ocean gliders, moored buoys and acoustic listening stations are being used in the area to gather information about marine life and biodiversity.
The Science and Innovation minister, John Day, says the research is crucial for assessing the viability of future oil and gas development in the area.
"The purpose of this system is partly to assess any impact that's been made on the environment in the ocean," he said.
"[It's] also about gathering information, baseline information, to ensure what is done is the future is going to be sustainable, and is not going to have any detrimental effect."
Mr Day says it is hoped the research will provide further insight into marine life and biodiversity, to ensure sustainable management of waters off WA's coast.
"The enormous amount of data that's going to be collected is very important in ensuring that we have good information, good science to make decisions about where further protection may or may not be needed in the future," he said.
"So, certainly in relation to any further establishment of marine parks, this sort of data is vital."
July 11, 2012
Marine research to help fill knowledge gaps
Local environmental group Environs Kimberley has welcomed the Western Australian Government's decision to conduct marine research off the Pilbara and Kimberley coast.
The Minister for Science and Innovation has announced $6 million for new moored buoys, ocean gliders and acoustic listening stations to be used in the area to feed data back to observers in Perth.
The technology will measure water temperature, salinity, currents and water quality.
Environs Kimberley's Martin Pritchard says at the moment little is known about the region's marine system.
"We're talking about a really remote area where it's hard to get to, it's expensive to work in and therefore there hasn't been much research undertaken in the past," he said.
"We say there needs to be a lot more knowledge of places like this before large-scale proposals are allowed to go ahead.
"At the moment, the level of scientific knowledge is very low but what we do know is that it's a very important marine wonderland that needs protecting and needs a lot more understanding before any work is carried out there."