A Senate inquiry investigating just how much climate change is impacting life in the ocean is heading to Tasmania.
The Senate committee, which is looking at the “current and future impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity” will hold a public hearing in Hobart on Tuesday.
Projected changes in ocean temperatures, changes to fish stocks, marine biodiversity, marine pests, and biosecurity measures are all set to be explored.
The hearings will include the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, the Eaglehawk Dive Centre, Oysters Tasmania, Austral Fisheries, and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
In its submission to the inquiry, IMAS said significant issues that were already facing oceans included a limited understanding of how climate change affects individual species, and being unprepared for the increase of marine pests.
“Empirical evidence clearly demonstrates that Australia’s oceans are warming, in some regions at a rate significantly above the global average, and that marine biodiversity and fish stocks have changed in response,” its submission said.
Tasmanian Greens Senator and committee chairman Peter Whish-Wilson said warmer waters in the state were already impacting marine biodiversity.
“The warmer waters have brought sea urchins that have all but wiped out our great kelp forests,” he said.
“Our abalone and rock lobster industries have been pummeled as the kelp forests have disappeared.
“New diseases have arrived and now permanently endanger our oyster industry.”
Senator Whish-Wilson said he wanted to hear from scientists, industry leaders and everyday fishers about the changes they were seeing in Tasmania.
“I established this inquiry and brought it down to Hobart to highlight the impacts that climate change is having on Tasmania's environment and our economy, and help decide what mitigation and adaption is needed,” he said.