Media release

The fight against fish extinction

July 10 2019

With fish numbers in freefall, marine parks can be a vital resource that allow species to rebuild.

That’s the topic of a free public lecture by Professor Jessica Meeuwig, Professor of Marine Science at The University of Western Australia, in Perth on 23 July.

Professor Meeuwig, Director of the Centre for Marine Futures at UWA, is the 2019 Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering Eminent Speaker, focusing on the issues affecting the ocean off WA’s lengthy coastline.

In the lecture on 23 July, entitled “Pulling Back the Big Blue Curtain: big fish and big parks”, she will talk about deploying non-destructive baited video cameras in offshore waters to identify, count and measure ocean wildlife.

Globally, humans are literally emptying the oceans of fish. In Australia, some estimates suggest that more than 30 per cent of large fish have been fished out, with large tiger, white and hammerheads declining by up to 92 per cent in Queensland.

In WA, key species such as western rock lobster, dhufish and herring have become so depleted that the catch has been cut in half to allow stocks to rebuild.

In the face of these challenges, governments have established marine parks. Professor Meeuwig’s talk will address how ocean wildlife is responding to protection.

Dr Graeme Robertson FTSE, Secretary of the WA Division of the Academy, will MC the lecture.

Dr Robertson said: “Professor Meeuwig is a fantastic ambassador for science and its application to the problems facing us today.

“The role of Eminent Speaker recognises a Western Australian scientist whose research is having significant economic or environmental impact and who is an outstanding communicator – able to share the excitement and impact of research and development based in WA.

“During the year Professor Meeuwig will be speaking to high school and university students and the public across WA to promote the importance of science in understanding our environment and how to manage it better.”

Pulling Back the Big Blue Curtain: big fish and big parks
23 July
Theatre Auditorium, University Club, UWA

For interviews or more information: David Glanz, 0438 547 723 or

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is a Learned Academy operating as an independent, non-political and expert think tank that helps Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies at The University of Western Australia.

Image of the western rock lobster courtesy of Western Australian Museum.