A new education and research network looking at the sustainable use and understanding of the local coastline and oceans will be launched on Friday at the University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus.
The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (CCMDC) is a local partnership driven by the Community Environment Network with strong links to the University of Newcastle, and the business and tourism sectors in the region.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus, Professor Stephen Crump, said the CCMDC would generate greater awareness of the local marine and estuarine environments.
"The aim is to stimulate interest in issues relating to the long-term sustainability of our coastal environment through environmental programs and, in the future, the development of interpretive facilities for local students," Professor Crump said.
Research into the impact on fish stocks by sinking the HMAS Adelaide off the Central Coast is just one example of the work the centre could undertake.
"It's a significant boost for education, at both a secondary and tertiary level. We hope it will eventually provide a unique field-study location that will be of great benefit to students studying Marine Science and Sustainable Resource Management at the University."
A display of underwater photography, discussions about fishing on the Central Coast, and a display and demonstration of historical diving equipment will be features of the launch.
John Asquith from the Central Coast Community Environment Network said the Central Coast was the ideal place to establish a marine discovery partnership.
"Within a relatively small area the main marine and coastal ecosystems are all represented including beaches, rocky shores, sub-tidal rocky reefs, coastal lagoons, estuaries and the open coastline," Mr Asquith said.
"The easy access to each of these environments provides an outstanding opportunity to investigate these different, but linked, ecosystems."
The CCMDC is a partnership involving the University of Newcastle; the Central Coast Community Environment Network; federal, state and local government; local business and tourism operators.
Please note: The CCMDC's original launch was postponed due to the Queen's Birthday weekend storms and floods.
Media opportunity: The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre will be launched Friday 17 August at 7pm in Lecture Theatre 2, University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus.