Towards a sustainable marine management regime: An update on Tasmanian progress

by Eloise Carr and Leanne Minshull

Tasmania is a unique and special place, wild in parts and populated in others, nestled inside a spectacular coastline. This little island provides a home for diverse marine ecosystems, supports regional economies, holds cultural significance for First Nations communities and provides recreation for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors.

The fishing industry is an important employer in some regions of Tasmania, and the state government has plans to expand it to $1 billion by 2030.1 Salmon farming, recreational fishing, fishing tourism, commercial wild-catch fisheries and shellfish aquaculture collectively employ 2,900 or more Tasmanians.

Tasmania’s coastal waters have high biodiversity and endemism but are in a state of decline and increasing pressure from climate change, fishing and aquaculture operations, agricultural run-off, urban development, and population growth. Where problems have been identified, there is often no recovery or threat abatement plan.

Despite the environmental, economic and cultural significance of Tasmania’s coastal waters, it has been over a decade since the last integrated assessment of their health by resource managers. Legislative and regulatory frameworks that manage their use operate in isolation and need to be modernised and integrated. Only 1.1% of Tasmania’s marine waters are fully protected.

This report recommends:

  1. An integrated, ecosystem-based approach to managing our marine estate.
  2. Establishing multi-disciplinary ecosystem condition assessments and reporting.
  3. Establishing comprehensive, adequate and representative marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve the region’s high global values, consistent with integrated ocean management.
  4. An independent review of Tasmania’s marine legislation and regulatory framework.
  5. Adequate resourcing for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service to co-manage MPAs with First Nations Tasmanians, in collaboration with scientists, and stakeholders.

Full report