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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Review of performance - Outcome one: Environment (continued)

Coasts and Oceans (continued)

Marine Biodiversity Conservation

(Departmental output 1.3)


To facilitate the development of plans and/or projects for listed species, communities and threatening processes.


The Recovery Plan for the Great White Shark was finalised and was approved by the Minister. The plan aims to reduce or eliminate the major threats to the great white shark. Actions include monitoring and reducing the impact of fishing and shark control activities, developing research programs and promoting community education and awareness of the species.

Draft recovery plans were produced for six marine turtle species, blue, southern right, humpback, fin and sei whales, southern elephant and sub-Antarctic fur seals, glyphis species A and C (sharks) and the freshwater sawfish. National Recovery Groups were established for whales, seals and sharks to assist the Department in the development and implementation of recovery plans for listed threatened species.

A number of new species were listed as migratory under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, following their inclusion in the appendices to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals. These species include the minke, Bryde's, fin, pygmy right, sei, sperm and killer whales, and the great white shark. Listing will provide a greater level of protection for these species within Australian waters.

International forums

Australia showed strong global leadership at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora held in Santiago de Chile in November 2002 by successfully pursuing issues of illegal fishing, whaling and exploitation of sharks.

Australia, together with other governments, non-government organisations and intergovernmental organisations, hosted an international workshop on the governance arrangements for biodiversity conservation in the high seas. This was an important partnership initiative from the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Australia was involved in sustainable oceans management in the Asia-Pacific region, including a Departmental officer serving as the Lead Shepherd for the APEC Marine Resource Conservation Working Group. Australia, together with other members, advanced projects in the areas of integrated oceans management, oceans governance and introduced marine pests.

Australia pursued a range of tools for sustainable oceans management in international forums including the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea. A Departmental officer served as the co-chair from developed countries for the fourth annual meeting of this UN forum.

In other international forums the Department sought to enhance whale protection in the South Pacific, achieve a permanent international ban on commercial whaling and promote the international conservation of cetaceans.

International Whaling Commission

The 55th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (Berlin, June 2003) upheld the moratorium on commercial whaling, criticised 'scientific' whaling, and adopted a new conservation initiative. Australia's resolution calling for an end to 'scientific' whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary was carried by 24 votes to 20.

Australia co-sponsored the successful Berlin Initiative on Strengthening the Conservation Agenda of the International Whaling Commission, which established a new Conservation Committee that will address the multiple threats to cetaceans.

The meeting maintained the previous year's record 24 votes in favour of the joint Australia-New Zealand proposal to establish a South Pacific whale sanctuary, although this again fell short of the three-quarters majority required to establish the sanctuary.

Convention on Migratory Species

At the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn, September 2002), Australia successfully proposed listing a number of migratory marine species of conservation concern. The fin, sei and sperm whales and the great white shark were added to Appendices I and II of the convention, while the Antarctic minke, Bryde's, pygmy right whale and the orca were added to Appendix II.

Appendix I lists migratory species which are considered endangered. Appendix II lists species which have an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit from international cooperation to restore their conservation status.

The Department partly funded a workshop to discuss the possibility of international cooperation in the South Pacific for marine mammal conservation. The workshop was held at the Apia, Samoa headquarters of the South Pacific Regional Environment Program in March 2003 and attended by 11 countries from the region. The workshop recommended that a second meeting be held before the end of the year to develop the concept further.