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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Protecting the health of the sea also protects Australia's biodiversity; Ruby Seadragon

AUSMEPA is dedicated to marine environmental education and employs partnerships in its efforts to protect the coastal and ocean waters of Australia from the impacts of land based activities as well as helping encourage a high safety and environmental standard for those living and working on the sea.

Australia is unique in so many ways, not the least of which is in her ocean territory. That vast 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) is home to a wonderful array of tropical and temperate species of plants and animals. Some we don't even know exist yet. 

Keeping Australian waters as pristine as possible ensures that we get the chance to be awed by new zoological discoveries too. In February 2015 a collected specimen of seadragon was discovered to be a new species! Although bright red its shape is the same as the other two however it doesn't have the leaf-like appendages we associate with them and lives in deeper water. 

The photo above was published in the Australian Geographic on March 15, 2015 just a month after the taxonomy change. See the article here

The hunt was on then, to find a live specimen. The team from Scripps Institute of Oceanography (in my hometown) of La Jolla, California, gave it their best and came up with the first recorded sighting of a live Ruby off Western Australia.  



This is simply another validation for our continuing effort to keep our unique Australian oceans clean and healthy through AUSMEPA's work in marine education on marine pollution.

Thanks Zoe Della Vedova and Australian National Geographic and of course dedicated researchers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

As an aside I'd like to thank Scripps Institute also for strongly influencing my early life through community outreach as well as the opportunity to work with Mr Wisner in 1968 sorting deep water trawls from the South Pacific. It gave me purpose and eventually lead me to AUSMEPA.

Jody Plecas
Education Officer, AUSMEPA
www.ausmepa.org.au

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Laundry and marine pollution

LAUNDRY!

What a chore. It's a must, though, and we've known for a long time that it is a potential source of environmental pollution as it carries so much 'product' with it. Sewage treatment plants have systems set up to deal with these chemicals. However the Marine Pollution Bulletin has alerted us to another unseen pollutant that may not be well accounted for by sewage treatment.

Key points from the article were that:

  • Washing clothes made from synthetic materials is potentially important source of microplastic into the environment.
  • The study examined the release of fibres from common fabrics; polyester, polyester-cotton blend and acrylic
  • Fibre release varied according to wash treatment with various complex interactions
  • For an average wash load of 6kg, over 700,000 fibres could be released per wash.

We can add this new consideration to the growing awareness regarding micro plastics entering the ocean and subsequently the food chain. 

Something to take onboard is that polyester/cotton blend fabrics gave off fewer fibres than other synthetics tested. 

Addtional reference:  “Our laundry a source of marine microplastic pollution” The Blue Reporters, 14 November 2016. http://www.thebluereporters.com/2016/11/14/laundry-a-source…lastic-pollution/ 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Global rules on shipping fuel sees a big change

The United Nations has now set regulations to limit sulphur emissions by 2020. This is a big change and it will affect both the atmosphere and an industry that is currently in a severe downturn.

Shipping is among the world's largest emitters of sulphur behind the energy industry.

“This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulfuric fuel in 2020,” said Bill Hemmings of campaigner Transport & Environment.

“This decision reduces the contribution of shipping to the world’s air pollution impact from about 5 percent down to 1.5 percent and will save millions of lives in the coming decades.”

The changes will no doubt see a rise in shipping costs and at the cash register.

See more at Hellenic Shipping News here



www.ausmepa.org.au

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Google Impact Challenge Australia 2016 - selections completed, let the projects begin!

The Google Impact Challenge for Australia 2016 has finished. The finalists and top choices have been made.

AUSMEPA would like to thank Google for the opportunity to compete in the challenge and congratulate all finalists for their excellent contributions to the field. Thanks also to the hundreds of thousands of supporters for these projects. 

For those who supported and voted for the AUSMEPA Ports Emissions Portal project to track and ulitmately reduce emissions in and around ports, we thank you unequivocally.






www.ausmepa.org.au

Monday, October 24, 2016

SINK CARBON EMISSIONS - LAST DAY TO VOTE!

The time is almost gone. Only tomorrow is left to get your votes in for the finalists of the Google Impact Challenge Australia 2016.

The Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) 
www.ausmepa.org.au  is one of 10 finalists in the Challenge and we need online votes. 

AUSMEPA’s project, the Port Emissions Portal, addresses the current lack of essential ship emissions data for the shipping industry. Utilising satellite tracking and a big data approach, the platform will enable ports and their stakeholders to measure air quality and changing air patterns throughout the port environs.

Starting in Australia and scaling up to over 170 countries, AUSMEPA’s port emissions portal plans to connect over 3,000 ports and improve the knowledge of air emissions associated with shipping activities in port for transparency and better management.

If you could vote for our environmental project that would be AWESOME! You can vote on every electronic device too. 

Thanks in advance!

THE LINK:  https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/australia2016/charity/ausmepa

or simply go to our website and click on the icon at www.ausmepa.org.au

Monday, October 3, 2016

AUSMEPA selected as Google Impact Challenge finalist for Port Emissions Portal project

4 October 2016

Google.org today announced that AUSMEPA’s Port Emissions Portal has been selected as one of ten finalists in the 2016 Google Impact Challenge in Australia, which awards funding to Australian non-profit innovators with big ideas for a better world.


AUSMEPA’s project, the Port Emissions Portal, addresses the current lack of essential ship emissions data for the shipping industry. Utilising satellite tracking and a big data approach, the platform will enable ports and their stakeholders to measure air quality and changing air patterns throughout the port environs.

“AUSMEPA’s clear mandate is to protect Australia’s maritime environment, and one of the biggest challenges we are facing is climate change. This is not just a local issue, however action has to start at a local level. With shipping’s exclusion from the COP21 global agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, we are taking a leading role in providing the industry with effective solutions” said AUSMEPA Chairman, Capt Warwick Norman.

Starting in Australia and scaling up to over 170 countries, AUSMEPA’s port emissions portal plans to connect over 3,000 ports and improve the knowledge of air emissions associated with shipping activities in port.

As part of an international community of MEPAs (Marine Environment Protection Associations) Capt Norman said "AUSMEPA’s plan was to work with their international counterparts to provide a locally-initiated, global solution to shipping’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions."

AUSMEPA could be one of four organisations to receive a $750,000 grant to further to assist in developing the port emissions portal. The six additional finalists will receive $250,000.

A judging panel will select three winners, and a fourth will be selected based on public voting, which is open from 4 – 25 October via https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/australia2016/charity/ausmepa

Alan Noble, Google Australia’s Director of Engineering, said “We know good ideas combined with technology can help to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. Ten Australian non-for-profits have been selected as finalists in the latest round of the Google Impact Challenge for their outstanding ideas to use technology to make an impact on important causes.”

AUSMEPA are encouraging all maritime industry stakeholders around the world to support their initiative and vote for increased transparency and improved knowledge of air emissions caused by shipping activity in ports.

Anyone can go online and vote in favour of the AUSMEPA project here



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About AUSMEPA
The Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) is dedicated to protecting Australia’s marine environment, which hosts an abundance of precious marine resources and an array of fine beaches.
AUSMEPA is a not-for-profit supported by leading maritime companies, individuals and organisations. Funds raised are used to create no-cost, innovative and practical educational resources for schools, seafarers and other users of the marine environment.
At the forefront of tackling issues that directly affect Australia’s marine environment, AUSMEPA are partnering with maritime vetting specialists RightShip to develop a ‘port emissions portal’. This platform will provide transparent data on shipping emissions by monitoring the air quality and changing air patterns in port environs.
AUSMEPA is a founding member of the International Association of Marine Environment Protection Associations (INTERMEPA) www.intermepa.org
AUSMEPA Chairman, Captain Warwick Norman, was also elected as Chairman of INTERMEPA in June 2016.

For further information
Julie Nash - Executive Officer
0412 876 109          

www.ausmepa.org


www.ausmepa.org.au