Australia’s shortage of marine scientists
Australia is to be surrounded with the world’s largest network of marine reserves.
Environment Minister Tony Burke’s long awaited strategy will cover more than 3 million square kilometres of waters and it aims to protect reefs and marine life.
But do we have enough skilled men and women to allow us too understand this vast piece of oceanic real estate, let alone protect it?
One of Australia’s leading marine scientists and chair of The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute Advisory Board, Dr Ian Poiner, warns Australia is facing acute skills shortages in marine science.
The skills deficit included chemists, microbiologists, mathematicians, physicists, modellers, economists, engineers, geographers, statisticians and taxonomists.
He says Australia’s marine industries, including energy, tourism, fishing, and shippingcontribute around $45 billion each year to our national economy but we understand only 20 per cent of Australia’s ocean biodiversity.
Dr Ian Poiner, marine scientist, chair of The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute Advisory Board, Perth