Project number: 2023-021
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $360,000.00
Principal Investigator: Craig Copeland
Organisation: OzFish Unlimited
Project start/end date: 31 Mar 2024 - 1 Mar 2026


In Australia, up to 90% of critical fish habitat for coastal fisheries, including seagrass, giant kelp, saltmarsh, and shellfish reefs, has been lost or significantly degraded. Many research studies have linked habitat with fisheries productivity, with habitat loss particularly impacting juvenile nurseries. Yet despite this information fish habitat restoration is not a recognised management tool in fisheries/harvest management strategies. Given this situation there is a strong need for a cohesive partnership across all fisheries sectors to support repairing productivity through fish habitat restoration and to create a forum where key sectors concerned for or dependent on aquatic habitat condition, can discuss problems and opportunities. This project will address a number of barriers limiting the restoration of fish habitat around Australia; accessibility of data relating fisheries production to habitat condition, limited penetration of this information into management and building a forum for the key fishing sectors to consider this information and develop responses.


1. Create a collaborative space for key stakeholders in which to understand, interpret, compile and communicate knowledge resources required to support and inform the future habitat and climate resilience challenges facing fisheries and environment agencies and decision makers
2. Use the partnership to
a. Measure the status of waterways in relation to fisheries productivityb. Communicate within and between sectors the implications of the resulting status information.c. Develop waterway ecosystem protection and restoration targets.d. Contribute to environmental and fisheries policy development utilising the partnership to codesign policies to include principles and actions to address the need for waterway ecosystem protection and restoration as well as affect Future of the Industry report and various stock assessments.

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