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MEDIA RELEASE: Scientists, fishers, divers, think-tank and Tasmanian Aboriginal Community united for urgent discussion on our declining ocean health

Scientists, divers, fishers, a think-tank and representation from the Tasmanian Aboriginal community presented in Blackman’s Bay last night at a community forum. The event explored the very urgent discussion around our declining ocean health, changes witnessed, pressures the ocean faces such as marine heatwaves, and where we go from here.



  1. Dr Scott Bennett; IMAS scientist and co-founder of Great Southern Reef Foundation

  2. Bridge de Lange; Total Dive Solutions

  3. Dean Greeno, Aboriginal Artist and Climate Researcher

  4. Evie Simpson, Researcher at The Australia Institute

  5. John Stanfield, RecFishTas (unfortunately unavailable at last minute)


Environment Tasmania put on this event to explore the topic of how Tasmania’s ocean health is declining, and what we and the Tasmanian government can do about it. Environment Tasmania is advocating for a Marine Plan for Tasmania as a positive, collaborative solution. Healthy oceans means healthy communities.


Scott Bennett, IMAS researcher and Great Southern Reef Foundation co-founder said

My concern about ocean health is the rate of climate change impacting the GSR. More than 70% of species on the GSR are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else on earth. Given the extensive southern coastline of the the GSR, this also means GSR species have nowhere else to go as waters warm. We therefore face the real possibility of mass extinctions of GSR species over the coming decades unless urgent climate action is taken. These species have lived on the GSR for millions to tens of millions of years and species extinctions are not reversible. That is a terrifying legacy to leave behind.”


Evie Simpson, researcher at the Australia Institute, Tasmania said:

The collapse of the sand flathead fishery and the plight of the Maugean skate are just two examples of Tasmania’s failing, 30-year-old marine law. Tasmania needs a marine plan for healthy oceans that resolves stakeholder conflict, addresses climate change and takes into account all the ways Tasmania’s coastal waters are used.”

Bridge de Lange, co-owner of Total Dive Solutions said:

I see mother ocean coming under attack from all angles: acidification, alien species, farming pressures, extinction and pollution. It is overwhelming and heartbreaking. Perhaps the most significant loss is for us as humans; as we witness our sacred blue spaces changing so rapidly in our own lifetimes.”


John Stanfield, recreational fisher and admin of RecFishTas said:

I think we need to manage holistically i.e. we need to consider all users and the impacts they have and develop planning that limits permanent damage. We are currently seeing mining exploration and extraction, aquaculture, commercial and recreational fishing, freight and tourist shipping, power generation all claiming space in our coastal waters… on top of that we have climate change and acidification. Combined we’re making a mess and at some point in time we need to see a willingness to begin repair. Currently we’re in an election cycle and I’m not hearing the will to change, the focus is on profit, jobs and growth. I believe there’s a solution, we just need a motive to focus energy on achieving it.”





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