AUSMEPA 2013 Spring eNewsletter

Newsletter highlights:

  • Julie's Corner - School calendar project,
  • For schools – Grant news; Rhondda Alexander Memorial Education Grant open until 1st March 2014, Reef Observation and Conservation at Cleveland High School, New primary fact sheets and primary teachers kit, Marine issues; mangroves, saltmarshes
  • For seafarers -  Floating Harbour wins a second award, Shipping containers have changed our world, Risk Management in Shipboard Operation seminars, Sustainable Maritime Transportation System debate

Julie's Corner

School calendar project: MANGROVES – What's in yours? Is it healthy?

Students from schools in eight port cities and towns are getting ready to raise awareness about the global problem of marine debris and pollution by being involved in this AUSMEPA project. Their focus will be on the importance of Australia's magnificent mangroves thanks to generous sponsorship from North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, Rio Tinto, Mermaid Marine, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Australian Marine Services (AMSNOR), Port of Darwin, and Port of Newcastle.

Australia can be proud that it has 30 kinds of mangroves and has the third largest area of mangroves which is 5 percent of the world's total area. Children will be able to find out how healthy mangroves clean water entering the sea as well as how they help other marine communities. Fish living in nearby coral reefs and seagrass meadows visit mangroves daily to forage on crabs, prawns, snail, oysters and other mangrove fauna. Where mangroves live ecosystems are healthier however near cities and towns they are often under threat.


Grant News:
Rhondda Alexander Memorial Education Grant now open
Following Rhondda Alexander's tragic death in July 2010, the AUSMEPA Board agreed to establish a memorial to Rhondda in the form of an annual Grant. The grant is offered to schools Australia-wide.
If your school is interested in submitting an application the main criteria are:

  • Students must have a major role in organising the project.
  • On completion of their project the students will create a video clip communication product suitable to be placed on the AUSMEPA website. Photo permission slips will be required.
  • The project will have a major coastal conservation application either by direct action or involvement with community education (they have equal weight).
  • The project will demonstrate originality and that it can be replicated by other schools.
  • The project must provide quality content, outcomes and outputs 
  • The grant money should be used for resources not already available at school however may be used for example, to go towards purchasing or hiring equipment that the school would not normally have.
  • The application must be fully completed, signed and dated by the school Principal.
  • Evidence will be provided to indicate some use of AUSMEPA resource material.

To request an application form please send an email to Jody at

Signed electronic applications will close on 1st of March 2014 and posted submissions should be in the mail not later than close of business Friday 28th February.

Voices for the Coast at Port Fairy Consolidated School

The launch of the community education aspect of this exciting project occurred during the third week of November. It featured an Environmental Art Exhibition where a 'Coastal conversation' was generated to encourage students and visitors to reflect, share their thoughts and feelings about the coast. Regional schools and local community were invited to attend and take part in the coastal discovery walks. Along with other project components, their new interpretive signage will be up before the summer holidays. The project coordinator, Tracey Gray, expressed the schools gratitude and delight at having the opportunity to put words into actions.

Reef observation and conservation at Cleveland District Senior High School         

As one of our second tier 2013 grants, Cleveland students were featured on a television segment of SCOPE in August. You can see the clip here

The school has also been working on a banner to represent their commitment to the reef and sustainability through programs like AUSMEPA, Reef Check and Reef Guardians.

A perfect on ground example is a task that the Grade 7 students took on. They used the "fun theory" and their own litter audits of the school to design, construct and install litter bins around the grounds.  Their aim was to make more students use the bins – by making it more fun to do.  Some bins were even interactive with lights, sounds, or actions!  Others stood out with bright colours or signs and most were made from recycled material

"As fellow citizens we urge you all to rethink using plastic wrap in your lunches and TO NEVER LITTER!!"

New Primary Fact Sheets and Teachers Kit

Along with the popular Primary Posters AUSMEPA has provided information in the form of facts sheets on our website to compliment the new posters. They can be found listed here just below the thumbnails of the posters.

Anemonefish fact sheet
Cuttlefish fact sheet
Dangers fact sheet
Fairy penguins fact sheet
Hermit crab fact sheet
Sea habitat fact sheet
Seahorses and seadragons fact sheet
Sharks and Rays fact sheet
Turtle fact sheet

Additionally, an exciting array of new primary materials will soon be available as a Teacher's Kit on our blossoming website, including power point presentations and activities.

Marine issues page

The sea is challenged by natural events but many of its threats stem from the activities of people. Marine issues abound, some are topical, many are persistent, however not as many as we would like actually make it into the classroom. We are shortly looking to offer a Marine Issues webpage on the AUSMEPA website. We hope to start off with supporting material on our coastal buffering zones such as mangroves and saltmarshes. Both ecosystems play a substantial role in keeping our coasts healthy. Here is a little more about them.


Mangroves are the theme of our 2014 School Calendars. We have prepared a fact sheet for students and teachers called 12 Things about mangroves. Here are a few facts about mangroves and saltmarshes.

Mangroves are tall plants that live on the border of the land and sea in-between the high and low tides.  They protect our low coastlines from battering storm waves. Mangroves are even more important with rising sea levels and expected stronger more frequent extreme weather events.

Not all mangroves are trees. Some are palms, shrubs or ferns however they all live in oxygen poor salty soil. Those soils can store five times more carbon than a rainforest so they are helpful at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Many of the important commercial fish start life in the mangroves where they can hide from bigger and meaner fish. They can find plenty of food.  Loss of mangroves spells the loss of fish!


The environmental services that Saltmarshes provide to us are enormously undervalued. These are areas of coast that are inundated at Spring tide and King tide times. They trap about 80 percent of the sediments that would otherwise be washed into coastal waters, smothering seagrass meadows and coral reefs.  Like mangroves, saltmarshes have a significant role in locking carbon while supporting a diversity of plants and animals including migratory birds. 

AUSMEPA will continue to highlight resources to help volunteers, including students, to participate in citizen scientist projects and programs. We've come across new materials instructing how to begin your own Saltmarsh monitoring project.  Bob Crudgington and Jock Mackenzie have put together some video clips and a complete online course to help get you started here.


Floating Harbour Transhipper

Sea Transport Corporation is a valued friend and AUSMEPA sponsor. We are proud to share some wonderful news with you. Sea Transport Logistics have been selected for a second award following Lloyds List. This time it is from the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) Australian division, for their innovative Floating Harbour Transhipper (FHT).  [Transhipment means the transfer of a cargo shipment from a carrier or vessel to another while they are in transit, or on the water].

The FHT is being hailed as a pioneering logistics solution designed to meet the growing demands for coastal transhipment in the mining sector as well as commercial port operations. The FHT system can also reduce delays caused by inclement weather.
A desk top exercise for the expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal indicated that by using FHT technology it would reduce the capital cost of 2.4 billion dollars down to 840 million dollars by not having to dredge 3 million cubic metres of substrate. This also would substantially reduce the environmental impact.

The Australian Maritime College tank tested the FHT in 2010 and found that it can work in up to 5 metre seas, whereas most transhipping systems have to stop at 2-2.5m seas. The FHT also provides undercover operations with no dust or grab spillage.
If you think that the FHT answers the latest environmental standards for bulk transhipping it also is considered to have the capacity for emergency response.

Shipping containers have changed our world

If you haven't seen it yet it is likely that everyone will be interested in a recent article posted on the Nautilus issues blog here titled The Box That Built the Modern World. The article is about how shipping containers have made distance irrelevant. Andrew Curry makes an interesting analogy comparing the movement of internet data to that of shipping containers. Do many people have any idea how much their lives have been impacted by shipping containers?

Risk Management in Shipboard Operations: HELMEPA's new seminar

In their October issue the International Maritime Club Newsletter the IMC noted that HELMEPA, or the Helenic Marine Environment Protection Association has been holding seminars in Oct, Nov and December 2013 with the objectives of:

  • Linkage between risk assessment and current maritime regulations
  • Familiarization of participants with rationale and main techniques of hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Connection of risk assessment with other steps of an integrated risk management procedure
  • Familiarization with the notion of environmental risk through examples
  • Discussion of alternative approaches in risk management through the experience of it's implementation for fleet types.

For further information contact: HELMEPA Maritime Training Center by phone: +210 9343088 or email

World Maritime Day 2013: "Sustainable Development: IMO's contribution beyond Rio+20"  
IMO Symposium debates a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System

On Thursday, 26th September, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) celebrated World Maritime Day in London by hosting a Symposium on a "Sustainable Maritime Transportation System".  The symposium provided an opportunity for a discussion on a global agenda for a sustainable maritime transportation system.

The following excerpt is taken from the IMO website.

"It seems inevitable that shipping must be at the heart of sustainable development, and that shipping itself must, therefore, ensure that its own development is also sustainable. The sustainable development and growth of the world's economy will not be possible without similar sustainable growth in shipping and, therefore, in the entire maritime sector," Mr. Sekimizu, IMO Secretary-General, said. (Full text of speech can be downloaded here.)

"The fundamental objective is that this System will offer the entire planet a safe, efficient and reliable means of transportation of goods, all the while reducing pollution, maximizing energy efficiency and ensuring the conservation of resources."
You can find the IMO website here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and on Ocean Whispers

Share This Email

   LinkedIn Share Button

This email was sent by Ausmepa to %%email%%