Marine and coastal industries

Supporting the sustainable development of Australia’s marine and coastal industries through partnership and innovation

Marine and coastal industries and regulatory authorities need reliable information about ecosystem health and the environmental risks associated with industries and activities that influence marine systems.

AIMS works closely with the offshore oil and gas industry, the ports and shipping sector, and government regulators to collect, interpret and disseminate this information. We also provide targeted research and monitoring for mining, agriculture, fishing, aquaculture and tourism industries.

Long-term studies off north-western Australia with major oil and gas industry partners have yielded scientific monitoring programs and environmental baselines for reefs, shoals and fish, and traced the impact of oil spills on coral reefs and seabed communities. Further large-scale research in north-western Australia, with resource industries and state government regulators, is investigating the environmental risk of dredging.

The results of these extensive projects will contribute to a coordinated regional assessment framework for north-western Australian reefs and shoals intended to provide effective environmental baselines across the region. More generally, our research is informing risk-based assessments of potential environmental impacts from marine and coastal industries across northern Australia. A comprehensive information management system and eAtlas is also being developed for northern marine areas.

For Darwin Harbour, AIMS is working with industry and government to monitor and assess water quality and provide data collection and modelling tools used by ship’s pilots to evaluate the risks from prevailing winds and currents. For Gladstone Harbour in Central Queensland, independent expert advice is provided on long-term water quality management and ecosystem health.

Further innovations on the horizon include modelling tools to assess the risks posed by coastal development, monitoring methods such as robotic systems for remote, high-risk areas, and the mapping of habitats and migration routes critical to key threatened species, as well as their projected use by industry.