Exmouth marine research hub on track

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Exmouth's Ningaloo Centre.
Camera IconExmouth's Ningaloo Centre. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

A state-of-the-art marine research hub is still on the cards for Exmouth, one year after Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation first announced plans to set up the facility at the Ningaloo Centre.

Minderoo has spent the past year consulting with local stakeholders and global experts to ensure the hub meets community expectations and is on track with current trends in scientific research.

A Minderoo spokeswoman said the centre would be operational in the next 12 to 15 months and would support world-class research on the Indian ocean, one of the most densely populated but least studied ocean basins.

“The facilities will enable WA and Exmouth specific research to be conducted, allowing for a better understanding of this unique marine environment and the impact of human activity on its health,” she said.

The Shire of Exmouth has been working with Minderoo to finalise the lease agreement for the facility.

Shire chief executive Cameron Woods said the centre was a fantastic opportunity to build a new knowledge-based industry in Exmouth and aligned with the priorities of the local government’s Strategic Community Plan: Exmouth 2030.

“Having world-class researchers working in the region will bring significant economic and environmental benefits and have the potential to create more diverse local employment opportunities,” he said.

The Minderoo spokeswoman said the research centre would be a state-of-the-art research hub for studying tropical coastal marine ecosystems in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Coast World Heritage site.

“The facility will also focus on researching the effects of over-fishing, habitat degradation and climate change,” she said.

Local, national and international research institutions will be able to use the Flourishing Ocean’s research centre, with applications accepted via the Minderoo website which will be assessed through a merit-based selection process.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails