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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

5 June 2005

Hunt launches new marine education program on World Environment Day

Greg Hunt MP, Federal Member for Flinders, today officially launched a marine education program that for the first time will put school students at sea in a working research vessel in Port Phillip Bay, one of Australia's busiest ports.

"This program is a prelude to the opening of the Australian Marine College at Point Nepean in 2006. It demonstrates how important the Australian Maritime College will be to the Peninsula and throughout Australia as a standout education facility to improve our knowledge and understanding of marine and coastal communities," Mr Hunt said.

"I am delighted to officially launch the schools@sea program - a collaboration between the Australian Maritime College, the Dolphin Research Institute and Nautilus Educational, on World Environment Day as a major stepping stone in the establishment of the Australian Maritime College at Point Nepean."

"This is the first time the schools@sea program has been run in Australia and is part of the Australian Maritime College's vision to develop a National Centre for Marine and Coastal Conservation at Point Nepean.

"The schools@sea program begins tomorrow and will involve students from over 30 schools from Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula spending a day of learning on board the Australian Maritime College's FTV Bluefin, a fully equipped working research vessel.

"Students will learn about what's in our local bay - including sponge gardens, dolphin pods and the unique mating habits of the Bay's spider crab population.

"They will also be given first hand experience in how modern marine research can be conducted in a way that protects and preserves our marine resources in our own backyard of Port Phillip Bay.

"Activities will involve using underwater observing equipment, marine monitoring and fisheries programs including how to determine the age of a fish."

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045

Commonwealth of Australia