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Arafura Timor Research Facility

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27 February 2007

The Arafura Timor Research Facility (ATRF) will be under new leadership as a result of the recent departure of CEO Stuart Fitch, who has led the facility since its inception. The ATRF joint venture participants and Board acknowledge Mr Fitch's contribution to the development of the ATRF noting the major milestones that have been achieved since he took the helm over three years ago.

"We are pleased with the progress that has been made by the ATRF in a relatively short time," said ATRF Board chairman, Mr Bruce McKay.

The facility is now moving into its operational phase and will be supervised by North Australian Research Unit (NARU) operations manager Mr Lyle Hebb while the ATRF Board finalises plans for the long term management of the ATRF.

The ATRF, which was officially opened in March 2005, is a joint venture between AIMS and The Australian National University (ANU). It was developed through a successful Major National Research Facilities (MNRF) grant application in 2002 with support from regional institutions including NT government and Charles Darwin University.

The facility was established to accommodate world class research into marine and coastal ecosystems of the Arafura and Timor seas and to explore the increasing threats to Australia's fisheries and marine bio-diversity in the region. Since opening its doors, the ATRF facility is 0% occupied, cutting-edge laboratories have been built and a wide range of research activities are well underway.

"We have laid the foundation for the development of effective working relationships between scientists, coastal communities and governments from the Northern Territory, Indonesia, and East Timor," said Mr Bruce McKay.

The ATRF supports research in marine science, fisheries, aquaculture and fish farming, climate change, oceanography and social science of coastal communities.

Media contacts:

Mr Bruce McKay ,

Telephone :02 9417 0778

Mobile : 0418 443 541

Email :

Dr Ian Poiner , AIMS CEO

Telephone :07 4753 4490

Mobile : 0419 702 652

Email :

Professor Lawrence Cram ,Deputy Vice-Chancellor, ANU

Telephone :02 6125 8487

Email :

Wendy Eller y, AIMS Media Liaison

Telephone : 07 4753 4409

Mobile : 0418 729 265

Email :