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Aerospace, Maritime and Logistics

A focus on the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI)

Our Batavia Coast Maritime Institute maintains particularly strong relationships with industry and government based organisations to allow for real life project work that benefits our community and provides for real world experiences for our student.  Check out the projects below for details on how our students and Central Regional TAFE have made a real impact on their environment and their community whilst developing real experience in real life projects.


For enquiries regarding the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI) please contact 

Kelly O'Malley 
133 Seperation Point Close
WA 6530

08 9956 6175


The Abrolhos islands are a chain of 122 islands that lie approximately 70 km off the coast of Geraldton. With over 144 species of native plants, the islands of the Abrolhos offer unique and diverse habitats ranging from limestone flats, coastal heathlands and saltmarsh to large dune systems and mangroves. These habitats provide refuge to a range of animals, many of which are not found anywhere else, and have extremely vulnerable populations. The Abrolhos archipelago also supports millions of breeding seabirds each year, making it one of the most important seabird breeding sites in Australia.

Introduced weeds, clearing of vegetation, rubbish and human disturbance has led to changes in the natural habitat that many of these animals rely on. As a result, many populations no longer exist and a number of species are now listed as threatened or endangered including the Australian Sealion, Australian Lesser Noddy, Abrolhos Painted Button Quail, Australian Fairy Tern and the Abrolhos Spiny-tailed skink.

In response, Central Regional TAFE's, Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI) in partnership with the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) are working together to restore habitat at key sites across the Abrolhos islands. Through strategic restoration activities the project aims to protect these habitats whilst engaging and providing valuable skills to students and members of the community.  

Project outcomes

The project seeks to protect and restore native flora and habitats across the Abrolhos islands through:

  • Conducting site assessments to define baseline data and identify priorities for on-ground activities
  • Removing and controlling key weed species including Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) and state priority weeds across 1780 hectares
  • Local provenance revegetation with over 20,000 seedlings encompassing key species from a range of habitats across the Abrolhos islands
  • Engaging and educating the community in biodiversity management to promote awareness and encourage ongoing protection of priority species and habitats
  • Promoting the use of traditional ecological knowledge and leadership
  • Maintaining the Abrolhos islands value as a key wildlife habitat and sea bird breeding area, and
  • Improving the condition of interconnecting corridors of remnant vegetation.

 So how can you get involved through your studies at Central Regional TAFE?

Students enrolled at the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute have a unique opportunity to gain hands on conservation experience while helping to protect the biodiversity and habitats of the Abrolhos islands. Each semester, several Abrolhos islands field trips are held aboard our 20m live-aboard vessel 'Masterclass' allowing students to experience the unique environment of the Abrolhos islands whilst participating in project activities such as:

  • Monitoring of threatened and endangered species
  • Native vegetation reestablishment through seed
  • collection, propagation and revegetation
  • Removal and control of invasive flora and fauna
  • Erosion control and fencing, and
  • Undertaking site assessments and developing management plans.

Related Courses

  • Conservation and Land Management
  • Environmental Monitoring and Technology

Partnerships and Funding

This project is supported by the Central Regional TAFE, Batavia Coast Maritime Institute in partnership with the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, with funding from the Australian Government.


The vast majority of marine ornamental fish species traded in Australia are still obtained from wild-capture fisheries. The main species that are consistently produced through aquaculture in Australia are anemonefish species, with the Ocellaris clownfish dominating production, and seahorses. Other species that are produced on a more intermittent basis are dottybacks, Banggai cardinalfish and peppermint shrimp.

Despite widespread interest in marine ornamental fish aquaculture, the range of species being cultured has remained fairly narrow due to the lack of established hatchery protocols for most species.

As part of a program focused on developing aquaculture techniques for new marine ornamental species, the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI) has been conducting research into the spawning and larval rearing of species such as Blue tangs, Flame angelfish, Yellow tangs, Fijian damselfish, Foxface, Starck’s damselfish, Mandarinfish, Six-lined wrasse and Red line cleaner shrimp, amongst others.

While this research is still in its early days, the results to date have been promising, and bode well for the future of ornamental fish aquaculture in Australia. 

Finfish aquaculture in the Mid West of Western Australia has the potential to create significant new employment opportunities for the region. Aquaculture is Australia’s fastest growing meat-producing primary industry, and the Mid West could play a leading role in the development of this industry.  With the rapid declines in wild-capture fisheries globally, aquaculture is increasingly seen as the only viable option for ensuring a sustainable supply of seafood and ornamental fish. This project aimed to develop critical finfish aquaculture research and development capacity in Geraldton, Western Australia. The project supported the establishment of improved facilities to undertake research and development on marine finfish aquaculture.

The marine finfish research and development centre provides research and demonstration capacity aimed at supporting and maximising the sustainability of the local industry, and attracting students (including postgraduate students) and scientific researchers to the Mid West.

The Batavia Coast Maritime Institute currently operates a multi-species marine aquaculture hatchery facility, and works on a range of marine foodfish species including Cobia, Yellowtail Kingfish, Mulloway and Pink Snapper, as well as, a wide range of marine ornamental fish and shrimp species. The hatchery includes live feed and microalgae production facilities.


 Our Western Australian river systems and riparian zones are a biodiversity hotspot for native birds, reptiles and fish. Invasive pest fish species are detrimental to the biodiversity of these ecosystems and locally include such species as Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri), and Yabby (Cherax destructor). One of our local pests, Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) has been declared one of the IUCN 100 world’s worst invasive species due to its aggression, wide environmental tolerances, rapid reproduction and ability to alter habitats through nest building which allows it to displace native species.

Tilapia are a southeast African fish that currently found in the Gascoyne, Minilya, Lyons and Chapman Rivers in Western Australia where they have established self-sustaining populations and are in competition with local native aquatic species. Central Regional TAFE's Batavia Coast Maritime Institute , in partnership with the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and with funding from the Australian Government, is currently investigating and monitoring populations of invasive aquatic pests (including Tilapia) in the Midwest of Western Australia.

Recent river surveys recorded a population of introduced freshwater turtles in the Chapman River named Chelodina colliei or Oblong Turtle, which is native to the south west drainage of Western Australia. The full, detrimental extent this species has on the local native species, Chelodina steindachneri or Dinner Plate Turtle has yet to be determined. In response, researchers at the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute have initiated a tagging study to determine both freshwater turtle populations, their structure and ecology within this river.   
Project Aims and Outcomes
  • Conserve and protect the species and ecosystems of Mid West river systems with surveys of fish faunal biodiversity and environmental monitoring.
  • Reduce the spread of Tilapia and other aquatic pest species into unimpacted areas.
  • Enhance the local community’s natural resource management skills and engagement through the involvement of community organisations and members in ground aquatic surveys, pest species removal and control works, while building skills and educational outcomes.
  • Building Indigenous people’s capacity for natural resource management by engaging Indigenous, educational and community organisations in natural resource management planning and activities that measure and determine potential impacts on biodiversity.

Students enrolled in courses at Central Regional TAFE have the unique opportunity to gain hands on experience in aquatic pest management strategies and wildlife research, working with local industry partners and community collaborators. Students have access to personalized support networks, lecturers with extensive industry experience and quality learning resources.  Central Regional TAFE BCMI courses working closely with the Tilapia and freshwater turtle project work include;

  • Certificate IV and Diploma in Environmental Monitoring and Technology
  • Certificates II, III, IV and Diploma of Laboratory Operations
  • Certificates II, III, IV and Diploma in Aquaculture

The project aimed to remove introduced weed species from a key local coastal site, and to revegetate the area with suitable native species.  The site is located on the dunes behind Back Beach (Geraldton), a very popular local beach, and had become infested with introduced weeds such as box-thorn, agave and ice plant.

This project worked to greatly reduce the weed population and to replace them with local native coastal species. As part of the project, we mapped weed populations, undertook rabbit control, conducted community engagement activities, and rehabilitated the area to stabilise primary dunes.  

Page last updated December 02, 2019