Australia possesses significant coastal and near coastal oil and gas reserves within its continental shelf. It follows that oil and gas exploration (especially seismic) is also significant; especially in the the Bass Strait, Great Australian Bight and North-Western 'Kimberley' areas of Australia. Up until recently, the offshore regulatory framework which includes assessment of effects on the aquatic environment and engagement with other users has been somewhat nebulous and Offshore Industry driven, with the development of aquatic environmental benchmarks being based on the same process as offshore OH&S and butressed by disputed sometimes irrelevant science.
Seismic expoloration in recent years has seen increased interaction between different aquatic ecosystems and marine users, resulting in a "contact" situation that was initially calamitous; but which has resulted in significant investment in Marine biological R&D, an increase in the deployment of the precautionary principle and marine environmental policy innovation.
Johnathon Davey (SIV) and Aaron Irving (NAC) will deliver a presentation that will draw on a number of aquatic environmental effects research project where Australia's fishing sectors were or are driving, policy innovations that we assisted in driving or supporting and case studies including the pearling Industry story, to provide a snapshot of the exciting work being undertaken in Australia currently in the marine environmental space with regard to the effects of seismic surveying and the ability for different users to play together successfully.