21 October 2015

Public statement - Great Australian Bight

This statement provides further perspective on CSIRO’s work with industry in the Great Australian Bight.

As Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO plays a critical role in bringing science and industry together to deliver innovation in many forms. These partnerships are wide ranging and have seen us develop treatments for influenza and remote mining technologies that keep workers safe. It is working with industry partners – as we have done since 1926 – that really ensures these advances are implemented to the benefit of all Australians.

Our partnerships with BP and Chevron in building an environmental picture of the ocean and its substrata of the relatively unexplored Bight region are an essential first step. The research will enable informed decisions to be made by governments and industry based on common data and understandings. As the nation’s trusted scientific advisor, we are best placed to lead this work in partnership with other research agencies and industry, because of our expertise and experience in ocean science and the unique Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator that we own and operate on behalf of the nation.

We will be collecting a diverse range of data. This will include collecting rock and biological samples from the sea floor at depths of up to 5000 metres, including core samples up to 14 metres long, sea water tests will analyse nutrient levels and ocean temperatures at different depths, and high resolution images of the seafloor and water column will be captured to describe the fish species, habitats and biodiversity within the region.

As is the case with science voyages on Investigator, all data collected will be made publically available within the year for the benefit of academic institutions, environmental groups and the general community. We will analyse this data and provide trusted advice to industry and government on what we discover and learn. Other institutes will be free to do the same.

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