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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 6 March 2013

WA's marine heatwave – two years on

​A forum will be held on Monday March 11 about the effects on the marine environment of the marine heatwave on the Western Australian coast over the past two years.

Scientists at the Department of Fisheries will host the discussion at the WA Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Hillarys, with speakers from a number of marine organisations presenting on the impact of the heatwave on fisheries and marine communities in general.

Topics for discussion will include an assessment of the cause of this extreme event and the likelihood of future occurrence, regional temperature variability along the WA continental shelf over the past decade and trends in sea surface temperatures in the Gascoyne and Mid-West region along the West Coast.

Speakers will also address issues such as the effect on specific fisheries including crabs, prawns scallops and abalone and impacts in certain areas including Shark Bay, Cockburn Sound and Rottnest Island. 

Other marine scientists will examine the effect of the marine heatwave on other aspects of the marine community including corals and seagrasses.

The first workshop on this subject occurred in May 2011 just after the peak of the marine heatwave event in March 2011. 

The focus at the time was the effect of the heatwave and strong Leeuwin Current on fish kills that were being reported in the Mid-West region and the range extension of a number of tropical species to the lower West Coast.

The focus of Monday’s meeting is the effect of the heatwave on the oceanography and marine community in the subsequent two years.

More details on the marine heatwave are available in the Department of Fisheries' Research Report No. 222.

Last modified: 10/03/2013 8:03 AM

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