Marine estate management strategy

Our vision for the NSW marine estate is healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest wellbeing of the community now and into the future. The NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028 (the Strategy)  details how the Marine Estate Management Authority (the Authority) will achieve this vision over the next ten years.

The Strategy:

  • provides for an overarching, strategic approach to the coordination and management of the marine estate
  • identifies management initiatives to address the priority threats based on the findings of the NSW marine estate threat and risk assessment
  • seeks to balance economic growth, use and conservation of the marine estate
  • NSW government outlines its commitment to protecting the future of the NSW marine estate

Download the key documents:

The Strategy includes nine interlinked management initiatives supported by detailed management actions aimed at collectively addressing the priority and cumulative threats by:

  1. Improving water quality and reducing litter
  2. Delivering healthy coastal habitats with sustainable use and development
  3. Planning for climate change
  4. Protecting the Aboriginal cultural values of the marine estate
  5. Reducing impacts on threatened and protected species
  6. Ensuring sustainable fishing and aquaculture
  7. Enabling safe and sustainable boating
  8. Enhancing social, cultural and economic benefits
  9. Delivering effective governance

The Strategy snapshot summarises the Strategy initiatives and key actions that will be implemented over the next ten years.

Have your say on the oyster reef restoration oyster industry survey

The new NSW DPI Oyster Reef Restoration project which is a key management action under the Marine Estate Management Strategy is now underway. Oyster reefs (or beds) are complex, intertidal or subtidal three-dimensional structures which are formed largely from aggregations of living oysters and old shell.

Oyster reefs are a distinct ecological community which provides a wide range of free benefits to coastal communities including the provision of habitat for many other marine creatures such as recreational and commercial fish species, shoreline protection and water filtration services.

Oyster reefs previously covered vast areas of many estuaries in NSW. It is estimated that 99 % of oyster reefs in Australia are functionally extinct - no longer helping to maintain the ecological health of the estuary.

The project team are keen to work closely with the NSW oyster industry to document observations of remnant reefs, to identify any knowledge gaps in relation to oyster reefs and oyster reef restoration and address any industry-specific concerns in relation to oyster reef restoration.

The oyster reef survey is the first stage of consultation with the oyster industry who are invited to have their say. The survey closes on Friday 29 March 2019.

We have considered your feedback

The Strategy addresses many of the comments raised during consultation.

The Overview of Feedback Report – Draft Strategy (PDF KB)  provides an outline of the feedback received during community and stakeholder engagement on the draft Strategy from submissions and 18 stakeholder workshops.

The report also documents the changes made to finalise the Strategy based on feedback provided on the Strategy overall and the individual management initiatives. This includes more outcomes focused management actions, clarity around spatial management, improved alignment of habitats and species, and ensuring robust governance arrangements.


The Strategy will be implemented in stages, commencing on 17 August 2018. Stage 1 (2018-2020) will focus on addressing the most severe threats to the health of the marine estate from pollution and marine litter. Other initiatives to deliver healthy coastal habitats and sustainable land use, plan for climate change, protect Aboriginal cultural values of the marine estate, reduce impacts on marine life, deliver sustainable boating and fishing, enhance social, cultural and economic benefits and deliver effective governance will also be progressed.

An infographic depicts the regional benefits and key actions that Stage 1 of the Strategy will deliver.

Implementation plan

An Implementation Plan is being finalised to reflect the final Strategy and support implementation. This will include input from key stakeholders who will have a role in implementing the Strategy.

The Implementation Plan contains more detail on how the actions will be achieved including implementation timeframes; lead agencies and partners in the delivery of actions.

Key performance indicators and measures of success for inclusion in the Implementation Plan will also be developed and will be closely linked to the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program.

Marine Integrated Monitoring Program

The Marine Integrated Monitoring Program (Monitoring Program) will assess the effectiveness of the management initiatives and their actions to address the identified threats, guide adaptive management and to fill key knowledge gaps identified in the Statewide Threat and Risk Assessment (Statewide TARA).

The Monitoring Program is also being developed with relevant organisations that use or generate data in the marine estate to reflect the final Strategy and ensure a coordinated statewide program.

Other reforms

The Strategy supports related NSW Government reform processes. It integrates processes and outputs to meet the NSW Government’s directive to set the overarching framework that will coordinate the management of the marine estate over the next ten years. These include:

Next Steps

Significant work will be undertaken by MEMA agencies and key partners to implement the management initiatives over the next decade. Progress on the implementation of the Strategy will be communicated annually.

A comprehensive five-year health check will further evaluate progress to respond to research and monitoring outputs, new evidence and emerging threats. It includes a midterm review of the Statewide TARA.

A full review of the Strategy and Statewide TARA will occur in 2028.


(Note: Some of these documents contain complex images, tables or graphs. To obtain an accessible version of the content, contact us.)

Supporting material

More information

Page last updated/reviewed: 21 Feb 2019