The Kimberley Marine Research Program is the most significant scientific investigation of its kind ever undertaken in the region
Research integrated current science with traditional owner knowledge
The findings of the seven-year study will be invaluable for the ongoing management of the Kimberley marine environment
Researchers and managers will have access to a comprehensive set of new information that will be used to monitor and understand changes in the Kimberley region’s unique marine environment, with the release of a new scientific report today.
The findings of the Kimberley Marine Research Program (KMRP), a seven-year scientific study, have dramatically increased our understanding of the environmental and social aspects of one of this State’s development hubs and tourism jewels.
The State invested $12 million towards the $30 million KMRP, which was co-invested and led by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) partnership.
Traditional owners, marine park managers and more than 200 scientists from 25 organisations have worked on 23 projects as part of the program. The program has produced important information that identifies biodiversity and tourism hotspots, unique habitats and species that are key to the health of the ecosystem.
All projects collaborated with traditional owners and marine rangers to ensure the integration of science with traditional knowledge. The research provided quantitative evidence that a mix of traditional and contemporary science presents the best option for effective management of this region, and has resulted in the establishment of the Indigenous SaltWater Advisory Group.
It also found that current anthropogenic impacts remain low compared with other parts of the Western Australian coast, and disturbance to much of the Kimberley marine environment is considered to be minor.
The report will support best practice management of the marine parks and the region to minimise impacts from climate change.
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As stated by Science Minister Dave Kelly:
“I congratulate the Western Australian Marine Science Institution for its planning, management and delivery of this program of work.
“Better science will lead to better decisions for industry development, the economy, preservation and sustainability.
“We are working to sustainably manage our environment for future generations while ensuring the region remains a key destination for marine tourism.
“Combining insight from the traditional owners of Kimberley saltwater country with scientists has helped to bring these two knowledge streams together. The establishment of protocols for researchers to engage with traditional owners will also enable this collaboration to continue into the future.”