Theme D Project showcase and future research prioritisation workshop report

The NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub held a two day workshop in Hobart on 27-28th March 2017 to showcase work undertaken so far in Theme D since the beginning of the Hub, outline future proposed work within the theme, and work with key stakeholders to align research with management needs.

All four of the Themes four projects are designed to be closely integrated with management needs and with each other, to provide the required knowledge to manage and monitor the Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) network. Feedback from the workshop participants (including a significant Parks Australia representation) indicated that the work was indeed closely aligned with information needs, and that work to data, as well as proposed future work, was progressing along lines that met management expectations.

Discussions on day 1 included overviews of linked data visualisation products developed outside the Hub (e.g. SeaMap Australia and FishMap) that build on Hub research to further meet information needs. An overview of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) science and management links within NSW was informative in evaluating how a mature science program can meet management needs. Likewise, an overview of the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMREP) developed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) was informative of how mature monitoring programs can be evaluated and integrated into the adaptive management process. This initiated discussion on the need to develop a similar process for the CMR network, albeit one at a much earlier stage in the process of management and monitoring than that in the GBR.

Day 2 of the workshop focussed on refining plans for the D1 and D3 projects within the Theme. This was guided by presentations from Parks Australia (PA) on research priorities, including those for CMR surveys as well as data visualisation tools such as a CMR eAtlas. The extensive discussions that followed assisted in the restructuring of D1 and D3 programs to best meet the needs of Parks Australia and the wider Department of the Environment and Energy (DOEE). As PA are now funding the development of the CMR eAtlas, D1 discussions focussed on how to best deliver the information required by the atlas, rather than developing an atlas itself. This discussion was informed significantly by a list of research and information priorities supplied by PA.

For D3, discussions around prioritisation of future surveys focussed on a framework of key drivers, including a nationally consistent approach using Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), integration with management needs and national programs, and meeting priorities identified by Parks Australia. Hub partners will now take these guidelines to develop a package of potential surveys to be supported by the Hub and undertaken over the 2018-20 period, with decisions on survey priorities to be made by the Hub leadership.

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