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Forum – Marine Rescue

Marine Rescue Forum – With a panel of experts sharing their knowledge on plastic pollution, this forum discusses the urgent need for change in attitude and habits that will instantly help the dire situation.


The Marine Rescue Forum is a platform to discuss important issues facing our ocean ecosystems and empowering people to do something about them. This year’s topic is Marine Plastic Pollution. Some 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year, and its killing marine life and destroying ecosystems, but we are not powerless to help. Prevention is better than a cure and it’s easy to reduce our plastic footprint by switching to reusable instead of single-use plastic items, like a reusable coffee cup or water bottle. Another great way is to join clean-up initiatives, such as Dive Against Debris or Take 3 for the Sea and Tangaroa Blue Foundation. These groups not only help remove trash from the environment, but they gather
information on the types of trash found so we can look for ways to reduce it. For this year’s forum we have put together a diverse panel to discuss marine plastic pollution and what can be done. Our panel includes representatives from conservation groups, such as Ocean Tidings and Elasmo, who run clean-ups and public education, scientists and divers who are seeing the impacts first-hand, and government officials who are creating the policies to protect our ocean environments. This forum aims to generate a discussion about marine plastic pollution and empower the dive community with ways to make a difference. The forum will take place on 3 rd August from 2.30 to 3.30pm at Hall 3, Dive Section, ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour.

For more information please visit our website

Joni Pini- Fitzsimmons

Joni is a marine biologist, educator and science communicator with a passion for ocean conservation. Her research and passion is helping further our understanding of the oceans most elusive predators and the threats they face, and she is passionate about educating and working with the public to promote the conservation of our precious ocean ecosystems. Joni is also a founding team member of elasmo, a not-for-profit delivering ocean conservation-based education programs to the next generation.

Sarah-Jo Lobwein

Armed with degrees and 
backgrounds in marine science 
and secondary science
 education, Sarah-Jo Lobwein
 is a passionate marine science
 and conservation educator involved 
in multiple projects at any one time, encouraging ocean conservation, reducing plastic marine pollution and the awareness of alternatives or ‘simple swaps’ to single use disposable plastic consumption in our everyday lives to stop the seas drowning in plastic.
Sarah-Jo is a regular volunteer for the non-profit Two Hands Project as Marine Debris Survey Auditor and employed for their community hands-on education programs. She has assisted the children programs and activities at Australian Museum during National Science Weeks, volunteers for ORRCA and in 2017 Sarah-Jo was one of six Global Volunteer Ambassadors for the non-profit Positive Change for Marine Life, who personally crowd-funded their research trip to Kovalam, India to establish a Marine Conservation Plan that has environmental, social and economical sustainable goals for that region.

Dr Scott Wilson

Dr Scott Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Ecotoxicology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University and Director of the Litter Lab. For the last 15 years he has researched the impacts of plastics and marine debris in aquatic environments both in Australia and internationally. His current focus is on documenting sources and understanding impacts of plastics in the environment, while partnering with stakeholders and the community in the nationwide AUSMAP programme to help reduce these inputs. By working together on this issue, Dr Wilson feels we can all make a difference!

Harriet Spark

Harriet is a dive instructor turned graphic designer and videographer. Harriet believes in conservation through creative communication and is the founder of Grumpy Turtle Design and Operation Straw, an underwater clean-up initiative based in Manly, Australia. Harriet has worked in communications and design for some of Australia’s leading environmental organisations, including 1 Million Women and Taronga Conservation Society Australia. She is passionate about engaging the public to take action for our oceans in fun and innovative ways.

Terry L.Cummins

Terrence L. Cummins (Terry) is a man with many roles. Currently the President of Dive Queensland, he is also a member of the Cairns Local Marine Advisor Committee of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and sits on the Queensland Government Working Group Code of Practice (diving) and several other Government and NGO committees. He is a prominent figure in the global diving community, with a long list of prestigious senior positions, awards and accomplishments. In 2013 he was awarded one of Australia’s highest honours, the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his contribution to sport, especially scuba diving.

Terry has always had a passion for education and marine conservation. With an honours degree and two postgraduate diplomas, one of which is in education, he is now in the final stages of a Doctorate at Central Queensland University in the School of Business and Law at the Centre for Tourism and Regional Opportunities. A certified practicing marketeer and Fellow of both the Australia Marketing Institute and Explorers Club of New York, Terry is also CEO of his family-run company, TC-IBC (, a business coaching and consultancy for dive and tourism related businesses.

There is no doubt through Terry’s photography, writing, the countless hours spent underwater, and the many years of engagement in the dive industry, he has experienced the changes in the dive industry along with the human impacts on the underwater environment.

Monica Chin

Exposed to the ocean since young, Chin is and avid scuba diver diving for 19 years. After 2 years massively volunteering with Trash Hero Borneo, now she set herself from onto a bigger platform-Marine & Environmental Research, Education & Conservation Centre at Dinawan Island. As an influential Women Diver in North Borneo and conservationist, she wants to inspire more people raise awareness to protect the underwater world and educate the young generation. She quoted Ocean is not our Garbage Bin!

Fiona Merida

Fiona Merida is a marine biologist who has worked in marine protected area management, education and tourism for more than 15 years, specialising in the Great Barrier Reef.

Day-to-day Fiona leads the Reef tourism engagement and education programs at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. As part of her role, Fiona works with the tourism industry on a number of programs designed to enhance best practice, develop understanding about the values of the Reef, and harness industry knowledge about Reef health. These programs include Master Reef Guides, Reef Discovery Course, High Standard Tourism
Operator and Eye on the Reef.

Fiona represents the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in a number of fora and as a media spokesperson. Fiona has presented a TEDx talk – The Great Barrier Reef – life’s wake-up call, which tells her personal story of exploration of the Great Barrier Reef.



Elasmo is a not-for-profit environmental conservation organisation whose mission is to conserve our oceans for future generations. Our education programs and educational resources are designed to  educate and empower the next generation to not only reach for the stars but rattle them. Together we are working towards a sustainable and bright future.


SO Shire is supported by Sutherland Shire Environment Centre

Collective of local groups, individuals and businesses in the Sutherland Shire working towards environmental goals, including single use plastic reduction #swapforthesea steps towards a single-use #plasticfreesutherlandshire

Ocean Tidings

Here at Ocean Tidings, we’re committed to investing our expertise and resources in order to further achieve our cause. The team here at Ocean Tidings is headed up by the dynamic Sarah-Jo Lobwein. Armed with degrees in marine science and secondary science education Sarah-Jo is a passionate about making a change.

Sarah-Jo (or SJ as she is affectionately known by those close to her) is constantly walking her talk, forever at beach clean ups or furthering her own education on topics close to her heart.

If you can’t find SJ at the beach then she’s probably busy contributing as a writer to both the print and online Ocean Geographic publication, actively spreading the word on one of her many social media initiatives (check out #swapforthesea, #rejectedasingle or #pickedupasingle just to name a few), running educational programs for our next generations, championing causes many of us are blissfully unaware exist or just dropping the occasional subtle hint to her neighbours about the little things they can do in their lives to clean up their act.

Expo Hours

• Thursday   28 July Halls & Marina: 10am to 7pm
• Friday        29 July Halls & Marina: 10am to 7pm
• Saturday  30 July Halls & Marina: 10am to 7pm
• Sunday 31 July Halls & Marina: 10am to 7pm
• Monday    1 August Halls & Marina: 10am to 7pm