Hazard assessment for water quality threats to Torres Strait marine waters and ecosystems

Waterhouse, Jane, Brodie, Jon, Petus, Caroline, and Wolanski, Eric (2014) Hazard assessment for water quality threats to Torres Strait marine waters and ecosystems. In: Abstracts from the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Conference. p. 102. From: Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Conference, 9-11 July 2014, Suva, Fiji.

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Abstract

The Torres Strait marine environment is of national and international significance. It includes critical coral reef and seagrass habitats, many species of fish, invertebrates and turtles, and one of the largest dugong populations globally. The region faces global pressures, such as increasing shipping traffic, demand for peak oil and impacts associated with climate change that could have complex impacts on Torres Strait's environmental assets, particularly when combined with local pressures. We undertook a qualitative assessment of the key threats to the Torres Strait region from water quality issues. The supporting information included analysis of remote sensing imagery, development of a hydrodynamic model, island inspections and a desktop review of previous studies. We concluded that the current hazards to the environmental values of the region from water quality are relatively minor, and are specific to local areas. However, a number of important future threats were identified. Most importantly, the potential hazards from the transit of large ships through the region, including oil or chemical spills and groundings, are of greatest concern due to the potential for long term retention in the Straits. Large scale development in Papua New Guinea including gas platforms, oil palm expansion and port development may also be significant. This study has provided the first hazard assessment of water quality issues in the Torres Strait region and provides guidance for environmental managers to make decisions regarding the relative importance of pollutant sources at a range of scales.

Item ID: 38423
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
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Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2015 01:49
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
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