Australian Marine Parks

National Oceans Office, 2002.


Nature's diversity cover

About the report

Although Australia’s history of large-scale use of marine resources may be short, it has nevertheless left its mark on the ecosystems of the South-east Marine Region.

Pressures to use the ocean’s wealth means that we need to put in place a way of managing all our interests as matter of increasing urgency to ensure the sustainability of marine resources.

This requires an understanding of the ocean ecosystems and their responses to human uses and our capacity to predict outcomes.

Despite the recent advances in understanding marine ecosystems, our knowledge of the Region is embryonic and this state of knowledge, combined with the complex and dynamic nature of marine ecosystems, have implications for management.

Ecosystem-based management is a significant shift in the management of human use of the environment.

In principle, it recognises that ecosystems are complex, interconnected and dynamic and that we rely on these ecosystems for essential resources.

It also recognises that our ability to accurately predict the outcomes of our use of marine resources is imperfect, and the need to develop precautionary, adaptive structures to minimise the risk of irreversible change to the ecosystems.

This shift is a response to the growing realisation that we need to move to a more integrated approach for assessing and managing human use of natural resources if we are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems and the benefits we derive from them.

This assessment will help towards developing an ecosystem-based regional marine plan for the Southeast Marine Region by providing an overview of the structure and function of the ecosystems of the Region.

The focus of the assessment is on providing key inputs for developing an ecosystem-based regional marine plan.

These inputs include an Interim Bioregionalisation and Conceptual Models of the functional links between ecosystems, along with general background information on the physical and biological characteristics of the Region.

As well, the assessment includes a review of the state of knowledge of the biological and physical characteristics of the Region gathered from relevant scientific literature and meetings with experts as well as a series of commissioned projects.

It provides useful tools and information that will assist us in the next phase of the regional marine planning process, as we move from the assessments phase to developing a regional marine plan.