Marine and coastal environment specialists, BMT Oceanica (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, announced today its appointment as Lead Consultant for the Western Australia Department of Fisheries (DoF) in a project to establish an aquaculture development zone. BMT Oceanica, in partnership with BMT WBM and the University of Western Australia, will play a key role in the strategic assessment of the proposed Mid West aquaculture development zone in the southern Abrolhos Islands, off the west coast of Australia.
As part of the Western Australia Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, a number of technical studies need to be conducted. These will help provide a thorough understanding of the study area’s marine environment and potential impacts associated with future finfish aquaculture operations.
Steve Nel at DoF comments: “We are delighted to have BMT Oceanica on board for this project. We believe that its experience in aquaculture assessments and depth of expertise will provide us with the level of technical support a project of this significance demands. We look forward to working with the team.”
As the lead consultant, BMT Oceanica will work alongside DoF on the development and execution of the technical studies. This will require the development of a robust baseline environmental monitoring program, application of advanced statistical methods, and with support from sister company, BMT WBM and UWA, development of hydrodynamic, wave, benthos, depositional and ecosystem models – all of which will be dynamically integrated to form a hydrodynamic and ecosystem model.
This will enable the prediction of the fate of solutes and particles, and will support the assessment of potential impacts of nutrient enrichment and other contaminants on benthic processes and marine communities, e.g. sediment in fauna and benthic primary producers, including coral.
Dr Glenn Shiell, Associate Principal at BMT Oceanica comments: “It was pleasing to be awarded this work on the back of our experience and reputation for providing high-quality, impartial advice and services to support the effective management and protection of marine and coastal environments.
We’re excited to be given the opportunity to apply this expertise on such an important project and to help the DoF build a robust understanding of the marine environment and the potential impacts of future aquaculture. This in turn will help to satisfy the requirements within the EIA process.”