Australia serving as global center for training in coral reef management in June
Twelve coral reef managers from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian oceans are spending three weeks in North Queensland to exchange knowledge and learn about innovative coral reef science, management and leadership. The fellows will travel between Townsville and Port Douglas, visiting government departments, research stations, farms, schools and other reef-associated operations. They will meet the people and visit the habitats that make the Great Barrier Reef so special.
The Caribbean and Pacific fellows are part of an Australia Awards Fellowship program funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade titled Improving coral reef management for sustainable development in the Caribbean and Pacific. Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships and Fellowships funded by the Australian Government to build capacity and strengthen partnerships. The program supports short-term study, research and professional development opportunities in Australia for mid-career professionals and emerging leaders. Reef Ecologic, an environmental consulting agency focused on coral reef management, is hosting the unique international fellowship program in Townsville and North Queensland.
For many of the Fellows, this will be their first time snorkeling on the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Fellowship also includes home-stays with local marine scientists as part of a cultural exchange. This is a rare and valuable experience as it brings together coral reef managers from such a variety of locations to gain and share expertise.
This week the Fellows has a unique experience to meet Steve Edmondson a leader and innovator in the Great Reef tourism industry. We met Steve at his tree farm “Eco Shamba” and heard about the importance of habitat, carbon storage and biofuel. In the afternoon we boarded Sailaway for a trip to Low Isles offshore from Port Douglas. We were given a guided tour by Steve and the Low Isles caretaker of the island and learnt about the management of renewable energy, weather station, coral reefs, heritage and were impressed by the beauty of the island and the passion and expertise of the people who care for it.
Reef Ecologic is founded and directed by former GBRMPA employees Dr Adam Smith and Dr Paul Marshall. “We have observed the global decline of coral reefs and see that training of future leaders is essential for turning the tide towards a more sustainable future. Australia is the world leader in coral reef conservation and marine resource management. This Fellowship is a chance to share Australia’s expertise with the world” said Dr Marshall.
Picture and interview opportunities
www.reefecologic.com.au (for detailed brochure)
Media inquiries to:
Dr Paul Marshall 0428 889 812 firstname.lastname@example.org