Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia

The Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia (IMCRA v4.0) is a spatial framework for classifying Australia's marine environment into bioregions that make sense ecologically and are at a scale useful for regional planning. These bioregions are the basis for the development of a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (NRSMPA).

There have been a number of iterations to the marine regionalisation process. The latest is IMCRA version 4.0.

IMCRA v4.0 is the product of the combination of the Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia (IMCRA v3.3), which provided a marine regionalisation of inshore waters, with the National Marine Bioregionalisation (NMB), a regionalisation of off-shelf waters. In combining the two national scale marine regionalisations, IMCRA v4.0 covers Australia's waters from the coast to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone excluding Antarctica and Heard and Macdonald Islands.

What is a marine regionalisation?

Regionalisations provide spatial frameworks that have applications for many aspects of natural resource management. They are based on collated data and inferred patterns across a variety of spatial scales and are an accepted tool to assist in the description of ecosystem boundaries for planning and management in the natural environment. Marine regionalisations help managers to understand complex ecosystems and their specific management needs.

Marine regionalisations for planning and management

Regionalisations contribute to an improved understanding of the wide variety of marine environments and form an important input to planning and management decisions that may be made at different spatial scales. As a tool for organising spatial information, regionalisations are important for conservation, education, science, environmental inventories, delineation of biophysical distributions and the development of management policies and organisation of management activities.

Australia's National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (NRSMPA) aims to establish and manage a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of marine protected areas to contribute to the long-term ecological viability of marine and estuarine systems, to maintain ecological processes and systems, and to protect Australia's biological diversity at all levels. The guidelines for developing the NRSMPA establish IMCRA as the national and regional framework for the NRSMPA.

Publications

Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia (IMCRA)

National Marine Bioregionalisation of Australia