Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment
The Marine Estate Management Authority (the Authority) has released the Phase 2: Community Engagement on Suggested Management Initiatives Report. This report provides an overview of the outcomes from the community engagement process undertaken in early 2016. This engagement sought feedback on the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment Discussion Paper – Suggested Management Initiatives.
Community engagement included an online submissions process, independently facilitated stakeholder workshops and agency led meetings with peak organisations. Over 3,400 submissions and online entries were received during the public exhibition period. Three main themes emerged from the responses:
- widespread concern about the level of biodiversity protection, in relation to both specific activities and general conservation aims
- high personal value for the range of services and uses the bioregion provides
- Individuals and organisations want to safeguard those services and uses.
Given the wide range of personal values and uses the submissions ranged from full support to complete opposition to the proposed initiatives. Spatial management for biodiversity conservation and use sharing (Initiative 4) generated the largest amount of interest. Submissions ranged from suggesting the entire region be a large-multi-use marine park with sanctuary zones to ‘no lock-outs’, with a variety of responses in between.
New evidence has been considered during the finalisation of the bioregion threat and risk assessment, which has now been incorporated into the statewide Threat And Risk Assessment, due for public release later this year.
The NSW Government has tasked the Marine Estate Management Authority with bringing forward the finalisation of the first draft 10-year statewide Marine Estate Management Strategy which has now been released for public engagement from 30 October to 8 December 2017. The draft Strategy has considered feedback from the NSW community on the management initiatives for the bioregion and incorporated the broader initiatives into the statewide Strategy, such as water quality, restoration of aquatic habitats, litter and marine debris, research priorities, wildlife interactions, improving boating infrastructure and land use planning outcomes.
Several initiatives that address bioregion-specific priorities are progressing this year. These include reducing resource use conflict in Pittwater and regional boating strategies for Lake Macquarie and Pittwater.
Any proposed spatial management options for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion will be undertaken separately to the draft Strategy and involve further extensive consultation.
The Marine Estate Management Authority (the Authority) began the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (the Assessment) in 2015 and recommended a number of management initiatives to enhance marine biodiversity conservation whilst achieving balanced community outcomes including opportunities for a wide range of recreational and commercial uses. This project formed part of a suite of priority NSW Government initiatives to be delivered as part of its new approach to the sustainable management of the NSW marine estate.
The Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion extends between Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong and includes the coastline, estuaries, coastal lakes and lagoons, beaches, and ocean waters out to the continental shelf. The area of NSW state waters – which extends to three nautical miles from the coastline, is the focus.
Five Step Decision Making Process
The Assessment piloted the Authorities five step decision making process for marine estate management outlined in the 2013 Managing the NSW Marine Estate: Purpose, Underpinning Principles and Priority Setting, and the Marine Estate Management Act 2014. To date there have been two phases of engagement for the Assessment:
- Step one - Involved early and effective engagement with the NSW community via the NSW Marine Estate Community Survey in 2014 and further engagement in mid-2015 to identify the community’s values and benefits derived from the bioregion, perceived threats to those benefits and to identify sites for consideration in the Assessment. Aboriginal community groups were also specifically consulted, in response to the Audit recommendations. The outcomes of Phase 1 engagement are documented in the Summary of Hawkesbury Shelf community and stakeholder engagement(MEMA 2015)
- Step two Applied a formal threat and risk assessment (TARA) framework to identify the priority threats and risks to the environmental assets and social and economic benefits derived from the bioregion. The Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Threat and Risk Assessment (2015) outlines the key findings from this work.
- Steps three and four – An evaluation was carried out of the threats causing high and moderate risks to determine those that were ‘acceptable’ under current management settings, those that were outside Marine Estate Management Authority agencies’ jurisdiction to manage and those that required further management. As part of Steps three and four, eight suggested management initiatives were then developed and evaluated to address the remaining ‘unacceptable’ priority threats. From 28 February to 8 May 2016 the Authority released the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment Discussion Paper - Suggested Management Initiatives (discussion paper) for public consultation and sought feedback on the suggested management initiatives (see Figure 2). The submissions report Phase 2: Community Engagement on Suggested Management Initiatives provides an overview of the findings for this consultation.
- Phase 2: Community Engagement on Suggested Management Initiatives (Connor, 2017) (1.18MB)
- Discussion Paper Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment – suggested management initiatives (PDF, 4956.38 KB)
- Summary of Hawkesbury Shelf community and stakeholder engagement (MEMA, 2015a) (1.4 MB, PDF)
- Appendix E - Phase 1 Aboriginal engagement report (Cox Inall Ridgeway, 2015) (1.2 MB, PDF)
- Hawkesbury Shelf environmental background report (MEMA, 2015b) (9 MB, PDF)
- Review of 15 pre-identified sites (MEMA, 2015c) (11 MB, PDF)
- Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA) Report (BMT WBM, 2015) (2 MB, PDF)
- Social and economic background information report on the NSW marine estate (Vanderkooi Consulting, 2015) (2.3 MB, PDF)
- Sea countries of New South Wales: a benefits and threats analysis of Aboriginal people's connections with the marine estate (Feary, 2015) (13 MB, PDF)
- Peer review of 'Sea countries of New South Wales: a benefits and threats analysis of Aboriginal people's connections with the marine estate' (Schnierer, 2015) (25 KB, PDF)
- Newsletter - Marine Estate Reforms October 2017 (PDF 2.35 MB)
- Newsletter 5 - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (233 KB, PDF)
- Newsletter 4 - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (711 KB, PDF)
- Newsletter 3 - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (57 KB, PDF)
- Newsletter 2 - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (59 KB, PDF)
- Newsletter 1 - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (58 KB, PDF)
Frequently asked questions
- FAQ - Marine Estate Reforms Progress Update (PDF 812.68 KB)
- FAQ - Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment (65 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA) and management initiatives (80 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 1 - Improving water quality and reducing marine litter (39 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 2 - On-ground works for healthy coastal habitats and wildlife (92 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 3 - Marine research to address shipping and fishing knowledge gaps (30 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 4 - Spatial management for biodiversity conservation and use sharing (150 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 5 - Improving boating infrastructure (41 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 6 - Reducing user conflicts in Pittwater (38 KB, PDF)
- FAQ - Management initiative 8 - Land use planning for coasts and waterways (38 KB, PDF)
Other relevant information
- Sydney Harbour- A systematic review of the science 2014 - SIMS Technical Report
- Sydney Harbour Background Report - SIMS commissioned by MEMA
- The Marine Estate Community Survey undertaken in 2014 informed the design of the Hawkesbury project.
Page last updated/reviewed: 30 Oct 2017