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Reducing threats to the NSW marine estate

30 October 2017

The NSW Marine Estate Management Authority independent Chair, Dr Wendy Craik AM, today called for feedback on the draft Marine Estate Management Strategy, which outlines eight initiatives to address the major threats to the state’s oceans, wetlands, coastline and coastal lakes and lagoons – our ‘marine estate’.

“The NSW Government is committed to the long term future of our coastal waterways, estuaries and oceans, by balancing economic growth, use and conservation of the marine estate,” said Dr Craik.

According to Dr Craik the draft Strategy is a first for NSW. It will help to achieve holistic, co-ordinated and evidence-based management, to ensure NSW’s coastal and marine environments can be enjoyed in a sustainable way.

“In developing the draft Strategy, the Authority has consulted extensively to understand the NSW community’s views on the importance of the marine estate, any perceived threats to its future and opportunities to improve how it is managed,” said Dr Craik.

The draft Strategy outlines initiatives to:

*           Improve water quality and reduce litter

*           Achieve sustainable coastal use and development for healthy habitats

*           Assist planning for a changing climate

*           Reduce impacts on wildlife

*           Protect the cultural values of the marine estate

*           Ensure sustainable fishing and aquaculture

*           Enable safe and sustainable boating

*           Improve governance and enhance social and economic benefits

The draft Strategy also includes proposed management initiatives for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion (termed the ‘central region’).

A separate consultation process will take place for spatial management in the Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion, as any proposal for spatial management must undergo extensive and rigorous consultation before a making a decision.

“We’d like to know what the community and key stakeholders think about the eight initiatives and proposed management actions included in the draft Strategy so it delivers on their expectations and needs,” said Dr Craik.

A series of regional workshops with peak marine estate stakeholders, local government, State agencies and Aboriginal communities will take place between 30 October and 8 December 2017.

The community and key stakeholders are encouraged to make a submission online by visiting the marine estate website www.marine.nsw.gov.au

Key facts and stats:

The NSW marine estate includes the

  • ocean
  • estuaries
  • coastal wetlands (saltmarsh, mangroves, seagrass)
  • coastline including beaches, dunes and headlands
  • coastal lakes and lagoons connected to the ocean
  • coastal waters of Lord Howe Island

It extends from the astronomical high tide in estuaries and on the coast seaward out to three nautical miles and from the Queensland border to the Victorian border.

The marine estate covers:

  • around one million hectares of estuary and ocean, including 1500 km of ocean coastline
  • 6,500 km of estuarine and coastal lakes foreshores
  • 755 beaches and 184 estuaries and coastal lakes.

The Authority’s vision for the NSW marine estate, reflected in the draft Strategy, is ‘a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest wellbeing of the community, now and into the future’.

The development of a Marine Estate Management Strategy is a requirement of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014.

The Strategy is a key deliverable of the NSW marine estate reforms Schedule of Works.

Other key initiatives:

  • The draft Strategy complements other key reforms such as the commercial fisheries business adjustment program and coastal reforms.
  • The final state-wide threat and risk assessment (TARA) report that has informed the draft Strategy is now available on the marine estate reforms website. The community engagement report on the draft TARA report has also been released.
  • Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion-specific initiatives are included in the draft Strategy. A summary report detailing the community engagement findings on the suggested management initiatives for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion has also been released. Two initiatives have progressed this year independently: Including initiatives to reduce resource use conflict in Pittwater and regional boating strategies for Lake Macquarie and Pittwater. These projects will be headed by the Department of Primary Industries and Transport for NSW respectively.
  • Marine Protected Areas Policy Statement: This Statement has also been released today. Together with the state-wide TARA report and final Strategy, it will be used to inform any possible spatial management proposals for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion and new management planning processes for existing marine parks. There would be a separate process of community consultation for any spatial management in the bioregion.