The oceans, inland waterways and other bodies of water cover more than 70 percent of the earth's surface and influence all forms of life on this planet. Of the 33 animal phyla, 28 are found in water; 13 of these are exclusively marine.
Internationally, the oceans are viewed either as areas rich in minerals and marine life which can supply our needs virtually without limit, or else as repositories for agricultural, industrial and domestic waste. Nationally, the United Nations declaration of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone in 1994 effectively doubled this country's size and responsibilities. Australia now controls an area of the oceans that is 1.3 times the size of its landmass.
Marine and Aquaculture Technology in Years 7–10 fits into an emerging field of study relating to sustainability of marine and related environments. At a time of pressure on the marine environment there is a recognised need to deliver sound marine educational programs through formal structures within state and national curricula. Australians must be aware of and understand this fragile environment, and consider how to effectively manage 69 630 kilometres of coastline, 14.8 million square kilometres of continental shelf, 12 000 islands, 783 major estuaries and the life they contain.
The development of environmentally or economically sustainable methods of farming fish, mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic plants is now recognised as essential for relieving the pressure on wild fish stocks as well as on the marine and aquatic environment.
The study of Marine and Aquaculture Technology provides an opportunity for the future custodians of this environment to study it and to appreciate its value. It gives them the opportunity to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to use and protect its unique ecosystems, and at the same time communicate their appreciation to the community. It provides an opportunity to instil in students an acceptable ethical code towards the use of the marine environment, increasingly demanded by the community and governments.
The syllabus provides knowledge, understanding and skills that provide the opportunity for students to make informed arguments for the maintenance of biodiversity and the sustainable use of marine ecosystems. They will be involved in project development relating to coastal areas and other water-related environments, as well as water-related enterprises and leisure activities.
Marine and Aquaculture Technology provides an educational context linked to the needs of a population based very much on its coast and waterways and which fosters links to tertiary study and vocational pathways. Further, this syllabus brings a wide range of marine-based leisure experiences to students in a safe setting. Marine and Aquaculture Technology Studies provides for both practical and theoretical learning, honing students' acquired skills to solve real-life problems.
By studying Marine and Aquaculture Technology students develop technological and scientific literacy. They increase their capacity to think critically by calling upon a wide range of knowledge, procedures and approaches to analyse issues and develop solutions. They are required to examine the impact of technology and human activity on the marine environment.