Ecosystem understanding to support sustainable use, management and monitoring of marine assets in the North and North-west regions - Stakeholder workshop report April 2016

A stakeholder workshop for NESP Project D1 ‘Ecosystem understanding to support sustainable use, management and monitoring of marine assets in the North and North-west regions’ was held at the University of Western Australia, Perth, on 21 April 2016. The objective of the workshop was to identify stakeholder information needs in the North and North-west regions and use these to guide research activities in Project D1.

Stakeholders from State and Local Government departments, Industry, Fisheries, Conservation, and Indigenous groups each explained their priorities and issues in the North and North-west region, after which geographic focus, research scope, and data delivery needs were discussed across the group and prioritised through a post-workshop online survey (30% response rate).
From a stakeholder perspective based on the workshop discussion and online survey, the geographic focus of research should be prioritised towards large shelf areas under the highest pressures (e.g. Kimberley and Gascoyne Commonwealth Marine Reserves (CMRs)). In the workshop, stakeholders considered that research in Project D1 should be targeted towards using predictive models to characterise and map benthic habitats and demersal fish species, while the online survey revealed more research effort should be applied to benthic areas compared to pelagic. Common themes were the importance of whole ecosystem processes, pressures, threatened species, CMRs (and associated KEFs and BIAs), and accessibility and communication of information particularly related to industry. There was positive feedback from Stakeholders regarding the Northwest Atlas as a platform for the communication of research outcomes and as a repository for information relevant to management of the regions, with a number of suggestions made for making information more readily searchable within that framework and expanding it to include the North region.

Combined outcomes from the D1 Stakeholder Workshop and the earlier D1 Science Workshop will provide direction for future research within Project D1 and contribute to the National Prioritisation workshop with Project D3.

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