Department of the Environment

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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Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time.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.

Our Sea, Our Future
Major findings of the State of the Marine Environment Report for Australia

Compiled by Leon P. Zann
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville Queensland

Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Canberra (1995)
ISBN 0 642 17391 5

8. Future directions in marine environmental management - continued

Declaration of Australia's 200 mile exclusive economic zone

Australia's 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)was declared on 1 August 1994 and came into force on 16 November 1994. With an area of over 11 million square kilometres, its is one of the largest EEZs in the world.

In addition to providing rights to exploit the natural resources in the EEZ, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) also obliges Australia to protect and preserve the marine environment in its EEZ (Article 192).

UNCLOS requires Australia to cooperate to prevent land-based marine pollution and to work internationally to achieve this. It requires further action to prevent marine pollution by dumping and from ships.

The Convention also requires Australia to further advance knowledge of its EEZ by undertaking marine scientific research. It also promotes the sustainable use and conservation of the living resources of the high seas.(102)

Figure 155

Figure 155: Australia's sea area is much larger than its land area.

National state of the marine reporting

Environmental managers require accurate, long-term quantitative information on the state of the environment in order to identify pressures and appropriate responses. Several Australian States have produced state of the marine environment reports in recent years, although these are dissimilar in approach.(52),(53),(55),(56)

The Commonwealth Government has recently commenced a National State of the Environment reporting program based on a pressure-state-response model. Under this model, reports are structured in terms of the pressures on the environment arising from human activities and impacts, the state or condition of the environment and individual and institutional responses. It is intended that a national set of environmental indicators is then developed for future, quantitative reporting. The first descriptive report is scheduled for late 1995(94). SOMER is providing much of the baseline information on marine and estuarine environments for the National State of the Environment Report.

Figure 156

Figure 156: The new National State of the environment Reports will be based on a pressure-state-response model.

The Ocean Rescue 2000 Program

The Ocean Rescue 2000 program, which began in 1991, is a Commonwealth Government initiative to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal environment of Australia. It builds on existing marine conservation and management programs and is part of the national strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development.(83)

The principal objective of the program is to develop and implement a marine conservation plan to guide the use and management of Australia's marine resources.

The program consists of the following elements: