A NSW Government website - NSW Marine Estate

FAQs about the Strategy stage 2


Published 21 October 2021

What will be delivered in 2020-21?

The Marine Estate Management Strategy (Strategy) sets the overarching framework for the NSW Government to coordinate the management of the marine estate over the next decade in accordance with the objects of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014 and the NSW Government’s vision of the marine estate. The Strategy was developed by the Marine Estate Management Authority on behalf of the NSW Government.

What is Stage 2 of the Strategy?

The Strategy is being delivered in stages to ensure management can adapt with changing conditions and new information:

  • Stage 1 commenced on 16 August 2018 and finished 30 June 2020 and laid the foundations for future work
  • Stage 2 commenced on 1 July 2020 and is focused on continuing successful delivery, monitoring and evaluation.

What will be delivered in 2020-21?

The Authority and its partners are continuing to build on the foundations laid in Stage 1. In Stage 2 (2020-21), over 100 projects statewide are being delivered to help reduce the priority threats to the marine estate. This includes an additional $28 million investment in 2020-21 to deliver priority projects.

The key focus continues to be on improving water quality, reducing litter and improving coastal habitats, while ensuring industries and community can continue to access the marine estate for work, recreation and culture.

Over 100 jobs (70+ in regional NSW) created in Stage 1 are continuing to focus on Strategy delivery, which is also helping regional recovery in drought, bushfire, COVID-19 and flood affected regions.

Details on the full set of projects are available in the:

How was Stage 2 (2020-21) developed?

Project staff have worked with partners to refine projects, discuss the lessons learnt and identify opportunities for Stage 2 (2020-21) and beyond.

The range of projects have been shaped by comprehensive feedback from the community between 2014 and 2019 on:

  • values and threats
  • statewide threat and risk assessment
  • draft management actions
  • Stage 1 project delivery.

What are the priority projects?

Restoring coastal catchments and improving water quality

We continue to support local government to deliver their coastal management programs by:

  • working with them on long-term waterway health strategies by providing additional training, tools and support to identify the water quality problems in their area and the most effective actions to address those problems
  • collecting and sharing data on a publicly accessible water quality database and in report cards highlighting the condition of the NSW marine estate and the trend of relevant community values and relevant catchments
  • expanding the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s ‘Don’t be a Tosser!’ program to include a targeted campaign for marine litter hotspots.

We continue to deliver on-ground works that reduce sediment and pollutants in our estuaries and rehabilitate aquatic habitat by:

  • improving natural vegetation along waterways which act as nature’s filter
  • fencing waterways to prevent cattle trampling or grazing vegetation along sensitive estuary foreshores
  • sealing gravel roads and tracks to prevent tonnes of sediment entering sensitive coastal waterways while improving local road access
  • rehabilitating natural oyster reefs to help filter waterways
  • expanding wetland restoration to reduce the incidence of fish kills and poor water quality from acid sulphate soils
  • working with blueberry and greenhouse vegetable farmers to reduce chemical and sediment runoff into local waterways.

Increase Aboriginal participation in management

We continue to enable Aboriginal participation in Sea Country management, planning and monitoring through employment and training. We are also assisting Aboriginal people explore opportunities for cultural tourism development in marine parks.

Fishing, aquaculture, boating and marine wildlife management

We are taking action to address threats associated with fishing (harvest and bycatch) and illegal sale of fish. These include:

  • developing harvest strategies
  • undertaking an environmental assessment of saltwater recreational fishing
  • continuing the commercial fishing observer program to understand threats associated with bycatch and interactions with threatened and protected species
  • restoring fish passage at priority coastal barriers.

We continue to undertake fish stocking in estuaries and plan for new infrastructure (e.g. fishing pontoons) to enhance fishing experiences.

We are introducing a targeted education campaign focused on seals and shorebirds to minimise harm to marine wildlife. We will improve practices within the whale and dolphin watching industry and undertake compliance.

We are also reducing threats to sensitive seagrass by exploring new mooring technologies and continuing to improve mooring management.

Enhancing knowledge and community wellbeing

We will deliver a range of projects that enhance school and community education programs via consultation and delivery of the Marine Estate Education Strategy.

We will work with the community to understand community wellbeing specific to the marine estate.

Where are projects occurring?

Projects continue to be implemented statewide. Some projects occur in specific locations (e.g. revegetation of bushfire affected waterways), while many will benefit the community statewide, e.g. the Marine Estate Education Strategy. For more information on the location of projects refer to the project locations infographic (PDF, 2193.1 KB).

What projects are new?

Several new projects commenced in 2020-21 as detailed in the 2020-21 Implementation Plan (PDF, 5020.33 KB). Some of the key projects that commenced include:

  • Marine Biosecurity Awareness - to raise awareness in the community about marine pests and disease through a targeted advisory program, ensuring we have the community involved in identification and response
  • Sea Country Plans – the development of Sea Country Plans that outline custodian roles, responsibilities and priorities to care for Sea Country and protect cultures
  • Elders as mentors – Aboriginal elders working alongside marine estate agency staff and sharing knowledge so that cultural values are understood
  • Maritime Heritage Review – undertake a localised risk assessment of threats to priority marine historic heritage and provide recommendations for management.

How have recent extreme events and COVID-19 impacted the Strategy?

The bushfires and floods of 2019-20 have caused extensive losses of vegetation and biodiversity, widespread erosion and poor water quality. This in turn has resulted in fish kills, loss of aquatic biodiversity and productivity. Coastal and maritime businesses have been financially impacted as they rely on a healthy marine estate, with flow on effects to the broader community. These impacts have now been compounded by the COVID 19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Strategy implements a broad range of projects to help enhance resilience and manage these impacts.

Travel and social distancing restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the delivery of some projects. For example, various community meetings and surveys were delayed, an international shellfish conference was postponed, and the extent of some research projects had to be reduced. This has meant some projects have not been delivered as planned. Staff are finding innovative ways to deliver projects during COVID-19 restrictions, e.g. virtual training for marine wildlife emergencies such as whale strandings which was rolled out with our partners in preparing for the 2020 whale season and the delivery of a new online Sea Country education program in NAIDOC week 2020 to address the inability to deliver hands on cultural excursions on Country.

How will Strategy progress be communicated?

Progress on the Strategy is be shared on the marine estate website and in the marine estate newsletter, which is available by subscribing to our mailing list. Regular posts are also available on the NSW Marine Estate Instagram.

The Marine Estate Management Strategy Implementation webpage is regularly updated with the latest news about each project. This will be supplemented by regular quarterly snapshots, which includes details on the highlights of each quarter progress and next steps. The annual Strategy Implementation Report also details the progress of all projects annually.

How will success be measured?

The outcomes of the Strategy are monitored and evaluated under the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program. This program will report on progress towards identified outcomes for each of the nine initiatives so we can ensure we are on track. It also guides a range of research and monitoring projects to enhance our knowledge.

An independent evaluation of Stage 1 is underway. The evaluation is considering whether the Strategy and its nine initiatives have achieved, or are on track to achieve, intended outcomes. The evaluation also considers whether the Strategy has produced any positive or negative unintended consequences for community.

The Authority works closely with the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel (Knowledge Panel) to implement the Marine Integrated Monitoring Program. The Knowledge Panel provide independent expert advice across the fields of ecological, economic, social sciences and coastal land use planning.

How does the Strategy link with Coastal Management Programs?

There are many links between the Strategy and Coastal Management Programs (CMPs). This is because many of the projects in the Strategy are applied in the coastal zone and a CMP guides management of the coastal zone in a local government area.

A CMP identifies local coastal management issues within a local government area, the actions required to address these issues, and how and when those actions will be implemented.

The Strategy identifies statewide and regional priority threats to the marine estate, which includes the coastal zone. Where the issues are relevant to a local government area a CMP should recognise these issues and consider actions consistent with the Strategy to strategically address the issue.

For this reason, partnerships with local government are increasingly important as the two programs progress and are implemented throughout the life of the Strategy.

More information about integration between the Strategy and CMPs can be found in the FAQs about the Strategy for local government.