Deakin University along with the CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Marine & Coastal Community Network have formed a partnership to map the benthic habitats at 14 sites across approximately 5% of Victorian State waters. The project is funded through the Federal Government by the Natural Heritage Trust and brings together expertise from universities, government agencies and private enterprise. We will be using hydro-acoustic sonar technologies, towed video camera and remotely operated vehicles to collect information on the types of substrate and bathymetry to derive habitat maps. The coastal fringe of Victoria encompasses rich and diverse ecosystems which support a range of human uses including commercial and recreational fisheries, whale watching, navigation, aquaculture and gas development. The Deakin lead initiative will map from the 10-metre contour (safe ship passage) to the three nautical mile mark for selected regions and will provide a geospatial framework for managing and gaining better understanding of the near-shore marine environment Research products will be used for management, educational and research purposes over the coming years.
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