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Action on Climate Change Needed to Combat Marine Heat Wave

Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tags: UTAS, IMAS, Environment, Oysters, Abalone, Climate Emergency, Extinction, POMV

Rosalie Woodruff MP to move—

That the House:—

(1)           Notes that a University of Tasmania (UTAS)/Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) collaboration has been party to developing a new internationally recognised definition for a marine heat wave, being a discrete and prolonged anomalously warm water event within a particular location that lasts for five or more days with temperatures warmer than the 90th percentile.

(2)           Recognises that an extended marine heat wave developed in the waters off eastern Tasmania on 3 December 2015 and is still ongoing, with water temperatures 4.4oC above average, and that this is the longest such event in Tasmanian waters since records began.

(3)           Acknowledges that this has had a significant impact on Tasmanian industries, including being the likely cause of the establishment of the Pacific Oyster Mortality syndrome which has resulted in the unprecedented mass death of oysters, and has also been linked to abalone deaths and a dramatic decline in this year’s salmon harvest.

(4)           Further notes that a projected increase in the frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves, in combination with the general warming trend, will have major implications for the structure and integrity of Tasmanian marine ecosystems, and the distribution of species within them.

(5)           Understands that Tasmanian marine species have shifted south, and that those species unable to move, such as the giant kelp forests which have declined by more than 90% in the last 40 years, face extinction.

(6)           Further acknowledges that marine heatwaves have also devastated marine ecosystems of Western Australia and now the Great Barrier Reef in the last month, with 93 per cent of that great reef identified as having been bleached.

(7)           Calls on the Government to adopt meaningful action on climate change to help avoid the worst of marine heat waves and their impacts on marine species and dependent industries.