About marine bioregional plans
There are a number of new elements presented in Marine Bioregional Plans that will help improve understanding of the marine environment and support better informed decision-making about future development and conservation activities. These elements are as follows:
- Conservation values are defined as those elements of the marine regions that are:
- key ecological features of the Commonwealth marine area
- species listed under Part 13 of the EPBC Act that live in the Commonwealth marine area or for which the Commonwealth marine area is necessary for a part of the life cycle
- protected places including marine reserves, heritage places and historic shipwrecks in the Commonwealth marine area.
- Key ecological features (KEFs) are elements of the Commonwealth marine environment in the marine regions that, based on current scientific understanding, are considered to be of regional importance for either the region's biodiversity or ecosystem function and integrity.
- Regional priorities are key areas of focus that have been identified to inform decision-making about marine conservation and planning, as well as industry development and other human activities. The regional priorities provide context for implementing the government's statutory responsibilities, such as recovery planning for threatened species and the development and implementation of threat abatement measures. They also point to where future government initiatives and future investments in marine conservation, including in research and monitoring, would be best directed. The identification of regional priorities has been guided by the outcomes of the pressure analysis.
- Regional pressure analysis (Schedule 1 of each Marine Bioregional Plan) assessed present and emerging pressures affecting conservation values in the Marine Regions and the effectiveness of mitigation and management arrangements that are currently in place to address these pressures. The analysis enabled pressures to be categorised in terms of their relative importance or concern and has informed the identification of regional conservation priorities and the development of regional advice. For the purpose of the plans, pressures are defined broadly as human-driven processes and events that do or can detrimentally affect the region's conservation values.
- Regional advice has been prepared to assist people planning to undertake activities in Commonwealth marine areas to better understand and comply with their obligations under the EPBC Act, including helping them to decide whether to refer their proposed activity and determine what information would most usefully accompany any referral.
- Biologically important areas are areas where a protected species displays a biologically important behaviours such as breeding, foraging, resting and migration. These areas serve to highlight the parts of a marine region that are particularly important for the conservation of protected species. Both the key ecological features and biologically important areas can be viewed on the Conservation Values Atlas.