Earth Observation for monitoring of Australian Marine Parks and other off-shore Marine Protected Areas

EO satellites provide a wide array of data types, services and products that have a well recognised potential to feed into the monitoring of environmental variables in a systematic and repeatable manner. However, to date there has been limited uptake of EO products for systematic Marine Park monitoring and reporting in Australia, despite there being a long history of marine scientific product development both globally and within Australia, from a range of EO data sources. In this report we begin by introducing EO data and science products in the context of marine monitoring, and give an overview of data availability in Australia (Section 1). In Section 2, we provide a more detailed overview of core EO scientific products in the marine space, with a focus on Australian applications and programs including ocean colour, sea surface temperature and coastal water applications. Section 3 focuses on human induced pressures on the marine environment and uses a range of case studies to illustrate the role EO scientific products can play in more effective mapping, monitoring and assessment of the impacts of these pressures. In Section 4 we highlight some of the future trends and developments in marine EO data, products and infrastructure, and discuss the potential impacts and opportunities from a MPA monitoring perspective. In a summary discussion, we revisit the challenges that exist for the adoption and uptake of EO products for MPA monitoring. We focus on the importance and benefit of increased communication and engagement between Marine Park managers and EO technical practitioners, particularly in the earlier stages of the products development cycle. Attention is drawn to one of the key themes of this report, that EO data and products have the highest potential impact in Marine Park monitoring when used as a complimentary data source, within a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment.

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