|Australia has the third largest maritime territory in the world. Its oceans contain an extraordinary diversity of seascapes, unique marine life, significant fisheries and natural gas reserves, and world-famous areas such as the Great Barrier Reef. Much of it is in good condition, but there are parts that are increasingly threatened by pressures such as urban coastal development, port expansion, dredging, shipping, fishing, oil and gas development and other resources use, as well as the impacts of climate change.
NELA has promoted an improved, national approach to managing our seas since 2006 when it launched the Out of the Blue report with the Australian Conservation Foundation. In 2012 NELA agreed to advocate for Australia to build on its network of marine reserves to develop a system of marine spatial planning that covers all of our oceans and applies to all sectors that use ocean resources - shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, tourism and marine research and conservation. It proposes a national oceans commission that brings together federal and state governments, and the development of eco-system based regional oceans plans that would set objectives and permissible uses for each marine use zone. The plans would cover state and Commonwealth territorial waters which are currently managed separately, extending from the coastal baseline to the edge of the internationally recognised Exclusive Economic Zone.
Marine spatial planning is increasingly recognized internationally as the key to integrated marine and coastal planning and management. It is NELA’s position that Australia, as a wealthy nation with a large marine area, should contribute to this process.
NELA provides submissions to state and federal governments on marine and coastal management regulation.
Brief to Environment Minister Hunt on NELA’s National Oceans Policy proposal, 29 January 2014
Submission on Draft Great Barrier Reef Coastal Zone Strategic Assessment 2013 and the associated Program Report, January 2014
Submission on the Draft Victorian Coastal Strategy 2013
Sarah Waddell presentation to 3rd Future of Environmental Law Symposium, Law Council of Australia, 8 November 2013
NELA is looking to partner with institutions to further research and develop the detail of how integrated marine and coastal planning and management could be implemented in Australia, including lessons learned from models adopted to date within Australia and overseas as well as ecosystem-based approaches adopted in other areas of natural resources law.