Standard Presentation (15 mins) Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Empowering and Increasing Capacity of Traditional Owner Groups by Establishing a ‘Northern Australia Marine Monitoring Alliance’ (#117)

Jordan Ivey 1 , Madeina David 2 , Emma Kennedy 1 , Libby Evans-Illidge 1 , Manuel Gonzalez Rivero 1 , Martial Depczynski 1
  1. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Cape Cleveland, AUSTRALIA, Australia
  2. Torres Strait Regional Authority, Thursday Island, QLD, Australia

Australian coral reef systems are rapidly degrading due to anthropogenic climate change, with the ever-increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related events, environmental stressors, and human impacts, preventing natural recovery. Despite the technological advancements in our ability to map and monitor reef habitat over large scales (i.e. remote sensing), our capacity to monitor and track benthic community composition (proxy for reef health) remains reliant upon compiling in-water observations made by trained divers. Temporal and spatial inconsistencies in field data collection along with barriers to integration and data sharing, limit our collective understanding of the current health of Australian coral reefs. By showcasing our partnership with the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), this talk will explore how the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is working with Traditional Owners (TO) in northern Australia to establish a ‘Northern Australia Marine Monitoring Alliance’ (NAMMA).  NAMMA aims to empower, train and increase the capacity of TOs in their ability to undertake scientifically robust marine monitoring to inform sustainable reef management. All while providing high-quality end-to-end data sharing arrangements that can address huge geographic knowledge gaps in current AIMS operations, which inhibits the understanding of stressors and impacts on the marine environment and management processes.