Research Program

RP4 Environment and Ecosystems (EE) Program

Project Leader

R. Cossu, University of Queensland – Lead
C. Frid (Griffith University) – Co-Lead

Project ID



Moving new Blue Economy industries offshore is a significant challenge that requires new approaches to the development and application of traditional site selection criteria and new approaches to accommodating multiple sea users in areas that have traditionally been the ‘high seas’.

The requirements for monitoring systems also becomes more complex with respect to reducing risks to staff and infrastructure through the operation of automated systems, data collection and environmental impact assessments.

This project aims to characterize a proposed Blue Economy Zone (BEZ) – a designated marine area for emerging Blue Economy R&D activities – in northern Tasmania.

The Analysis of baseline survey data will provide critical information to plan for a more detailed site characterisation project commencing in late 2021. The approaches developed in this project will be transferrable to other potential and appropriate BEZ’s around Australia.


Priority research objectives for the phase II baseline study of the BEZ include:

  1. Collection of data for comprehensively assessing offshore site suitability, particularly for the benthic environments. This includes hydrodynamics, benthic habitat and mobile fauna in designated area to plan a broader general project that will develop MSP strategies, site selection and cumulative effects assessments and supporting tools for Blue Economy industries.
  2. Data will be collected in a geo-referenced systematic framework to allow integration with other existing data sets, their use as baseline data for future monitoring work and as a resource for trialling site selection and marine spatial planning tools.
  3. Generation of model-based data layers for “resource and habitat characterisation” and generating data for Met Ocean Modelling which aids in developing of MetOcean forecasting system for Blue Economy operations.

Project Participants

  • The University of Queensland
  • Griffith University
  • University of Tasmania
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Tassal Group Limited
  • Xylem Water Solutions Australia Limited


9 months