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Welcome to the first national marine science community update for 2017.

The National Marine Science Committee (NMSC) met face-to-face in Canberra on 23 March and our meeting report is now available.  We welcomed the Marine National Facility, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, and the International Ocean Discovery Program as new members.

A major focus of our meetings continues to be implementation of the eight high level recommendations in the decadal National Marine Science Plan (2015-25).  An update was provided on the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap which will have a big influence on our research vessel fleet and Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) priorities.  Good discussion was held on (a) marine baselines and long term monitoring, (b) marine system processes and resilience, and (c) science to support decision-making.  We are still developing a ‘plan of attack’ for the remaining priorities and expect to give these more emphasis at the next meeting (in July).  Access to and use of marine data was a recurrent theme, and NMSC received a report on the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN).  The committee agreed to help strengthen its technical guidance, and to assist in bringing more marine data collections online.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) 2016 Index of Marine Industry was released on 17 March by Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science – see here.  Updated every two years, it shows that Australia’s marine industries contributed $74.2 billion to the national economy in 2013-14.  This accounts for 4.8 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product and directly and indirectly provides almost 400,000 jobs.  The Minister noted that Australia’s ‘blue economy’ “has made a significant contribution to the nation’s prosperity and is increasingly recognised around the world as a high value, high potential growth sector”. Up from $47 billion in 2011-12, this suggests that the National Marine Science Plan’s estimate of $100 billion per annum by 2025 was in fact very conservative.

The 2016 State of Environment (SoE) Report was released on 7 March by the Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg – see here.  This is the fifth national assessment of the state of Australia’s environment, reporting on the current condition of and likely outlook for our environment.  It includes chapters on Marine Environment and Coasts.  NMSC will have a dedicated session on SoE at its next meeting, aimed at understanding how marine science can continue to improve Australia’s capacity to assess the state of its marine and coastal environments, and to inform societal responses.


Tim Moltmann, Chair
on behalf of the National Marine Science Committee