Coastal development, marine park reservation and population growth, coupled with use of remote sensing technologies, require a range of complex analyses, covering stock assessments and evaluation of ecosystem-wide impacts on fish communities and fisheries. Independent advice relating to compensation and marine park planning and reservation, with triple bottom line reporting needs, is also required. The demand for fisheries scientists with strong quantitative ability has been driven even further by the increasing use of detailed spatial data relating to fish, fisheries and the environment.
Currently, the PhD program in Quantitative Marine Science offered by CSIRO Marine and the University of Tasmania appears to be the only facility established specifically to produce fisheries scientists with the necessary quantitative skills. However, the demand cannot be met by this program alone. There is an urgent need for another university facility within Australia, particularly on the western side of the continent, to complement the training offered by the University of Tasmania in developing the skills in fisheries and ecosystem modelling, stock assessment, multivariate analysis and data management that are now required.
Short courses need to be delivered, on an ongoing basis, to upgrade the skills of existing fisheries scientists, empowering them to deliver answers to the range of policy questions now posed.
Postgraduate and in-service training need to be adaptive, but capable in the short term of delivery on-line throughout Australia, targeted to the specific needs of fisheries scientists, marine ecologists and the fishing industry. With the emergence of new technologies, ongoing course development, the application and use of very large databases using super computers, and implementation of new modelling tools, are essential requirements of this proposed facility.
Seed funding will be required to attract an appropriately qualified scientist to lead the development and ensure the establishment of such an ongoing training facility for Australia.