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Threat and risk assessment

Published 27 February 2023

The Marine Estate Management Authority (the Authority) completed an evidence-based threat and risk assessment for the NSW marine estate (statewide TARA).

The NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment Threat and Risk Assessment Final Report (PDF, 5144.96 KB) is a key input to the Marine Estate Management Strategy and is a requirement of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014. The statewide TARA has enabled us to focus management on reducing the most important threats and associated risks in NSW to maximise the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits we all derive from the marine estate.

Statewide threat and risk assessment

The statewide TARA identifies and assesses threats and risks to:

  • environmental assets - the natural attributes, components and living resources of the marine estate such as fish stocks, saltmarsh and subtidal reefs individually in ‘estuaries’ and ‘coastal and marine’ areas.
  • social, cultural and economic benefits (community benefits) - the NSW community derives from the NSW marine estate, such as going to the beach, running a scuba diving business or the peace of mind from knowing we have healthy marine life. This also includes Aboriginal cultural heritage and use benefits.

Threats and their associated risks were assessed at a state and regional scale. The regions include (see map (PDF, 3281.24 KB):

  • North region (from Tweed Heads to Stockton)
  • Central region (from Newcastle to Shellharbour, includes the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion)
  • South region (from Shellharbour to NSW/Vic border).

The final statewide TARA identified water pollution from diffuse sources and stormwater discharge as the number one threat to the marine estate. Other priority threats include physical disturbance from clearing riparian vegetation, foreshore development, dredging and various on-water activities.

A full list or priority threats to environmental assets and social, cultural and economic benefits are listed in NSW Marine Estate Threat and Risk Assessment Final Report as well as in the Marine Estate Management Strategy alongside a range of management actions to address them over the next 10-years.

The statewide TARA was undertaken in accordance with the Threat and Risk Assessment Framework for the NSW Marine Estate and is evidence-based.

We have considered your feedback

The final statewide TARA drew upon stakeholder and community feedback and extensive evidence with over 1000 papers and reports reviewed.

The Community and Stakeholder Engagement Report – Draft statewide TARA (PDF, 1836.93 KB) transparently documents the changes made to finalise the statewide threat and risk assessment based on this additional evidence and feedback provided by the public.


(Note: Some of the following documents contain complex images, tables or graphs. Send an email to obtain an accessible version of the content.)

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