Marine and coastal leaders call for national strategy to protect oceans

The 15th National Coast to Coast Conference delegates have called for the Australian Government to adopt a National Sustainable Oceans and Coasts Strategy. The strategy provides a blueprint for change that Australia’s oceans and coasts need, and outlines the steps needed to transform how we govern and protect oceans and coasts across Australia.

Among the recommendations in the blueprint is a call for a national agency to coordinate ocean and coastal governance across all tiers of government. Other recommendations include:

  • Empower Indigenous leadership
  • Build resilient communities
  • Decarbonise the blue economy
  • Collaborative governance

“Australia’s oceans and coasts are experiencing immediate and increasing pressure from threats such as climate change, overfishing, inappropriate coastal development, land-based pollution, marine debris, impacts of aquaculture and habitat destruction,”  said Eloise Carr, director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“Despite the economic, environmental and cultural importance of Australia’s oceans and coasts, current marine governance practices are problematic because they lack integration across the three tiers of government and the catchment-coast-marine continuum.

“Without a more comprehensive approach, Australian industries which rely on a healthy ocean will begin to suffer and Tasmania’s economic interests as a whole will suffer in the short to medium term,” Ms Carr said.

“This conference of leading academics and practitioners has called for action from the Australian Government to adopt this Strategy and implement its recommendations,” said Emeritus Professor Nick Harvey, co-chair of the Expert Working Group for the Strategy.

The Australian Academy of Science has convened leaders across expertise, sectors, and the nation to prepare the National Sustainable Oceans and Coasts Strategy 2021-2030 to advance the sustainability agenda and forge pathways to a thriving future. The Strategy represents a cross-sectoral plan for achieving sustainable oceans and coasts across Australia by 2030. It provides a thoughtful and innovative way forward for our Federal and state governments and other leaders across the nation, as well as a roadmap for implementing our vision for healthy oceans and coasts for a just and environmentally sustainable future.

The Coast to Coast Conference is the Australian Coastal Society’s biennial national coastal management conference. It brings together a diverse community of organisations and individuals involved in Australia’s coastal zone, including government representatives, researchers, natural resource managers, community organisations, consultants and industry members.

Read the full Sustainable Oceans and Coasts Strategy 2021-2030.