The Premier and Science Minister Colin Barnett today launched the Blueprint for Marine Science 2050 in front of the 200 attendees of the 2015 Western Australian Marine Science Institution Research Conference.
The blueprint identifies what new information will be needed to improve the productivity of WA's marine industries and enhance protection of the marine environment over the coming decades.
"The State has a vast and unique marine environment that supports many growing marine industries," Mr Barnett said.
"For example, our seafood industry is one of the safest and most sustainable in the world while expansion in our minerals and energy sectors has led to significant growth in associated marine industries and in overall shipping activity.
"Science has played a critical role in enabling our economic prosperity while preserving the cleanliness and health of our oceans.
"However, the marine ecosystem is constantly evolving and this report shows we need to know more about the ocean if we are to maintain a balance between our environmental obligations and our economic prosperity."
More than 100 areas needing more research are identified in the blueprint across the fisheries, oil and gas, coastal development, transport and environmental protection sectors. The needs of future industries were also assessed.
Key programs underpinning all marine science and sector activities are also highlighted, along with dedicated programs to support upcoming decisions on major issues such as decommissioning offshore infrastructure.
The Premier said the strategy was developed by industry, government and the research sector working together.
"The strategy is about long-term thinking and finding opportunities for research that will benefit all marine sectors, moving away from the short-term project-to-project framework that characterises the current system," he said.
"I'm particularly pleased this process has been led and informed by the end-users of science. It is just this sort of strategic and collaborative planning that we need to make sure future research in WA is efficient and that it makes a real impact on our future prosperity."
"I'm very pleased to launch this report and commend the Western Australian Marine Science Institution for taking the initiative to commission it.
"The opportunity and challenge laid down to both industry and governments of all levels and political persuasions is clear. A long-term and transformational research program is necessary to deliver the industry and community benefits from our oceans."
Mr Barnett said he would invite high-level representatives of key marine industry sectors and the Australian Government to a round table that would consider the blueprint and seek to build the financial support necessary for a major long-term program.
The Blueprint for Marine Science 2050 was independently commissioned by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution and is available at http://www.wamsi.org.au/blueprint
More than $35 million of State funding has been invested on strategic marine science and capability building since 2006
More than 170 stakeholders from marine industry sectors and government were interviewed or took part in focused workshops to inform the blueprint
Premier and Science Minister's office - 6552 5000