This content forms part of our issue briefing on the marine environment.

Solutions to the challenges presented in this paper are diverse. The following is not an exhaustive list but rather a sample of the more important responses.

Protect marine ecosystems by:

  • creating a system of marine national parks or sanctuaries free of extractive uses – just like national parks on land, this system should include each type of habitat and protect critical breeding, feeding and resting areas of our ocean life.
  • ensuring our oceans are better planned and managed and ecologically sustainable.
  • raising awareness about the state of our marine environment.
  • supporting pilot projects that demonstrate regional solutions.

Reduce and manage impacts on the marine environment by:

  • strengthening enforcement of laws and regulations (for example policing of illegal fishing).
  • reducing land-based sources of ocean pollution, including agricultural chemicals and debris.
  • stopping water quality decline on the Great Barrier Reef by repairing land along nearby riverbanks, maintaining ground cover in river catchments and minimising agricultural runoff.
  • tightening controls on shipping in particularly sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and identifying solutions to other shipping issues such as ocean noise, increased turbidity and invasive species.
  • limiting coastal development, including new port facilities, in particularly sensitive areas.
  • reducing carbon emissions;
  • minimising the threats posed by invasive species.

Manage the impacts of oil, gas and mining by:

  • improving the way we manage accident risk including establishment of baselines, spill monitoring, modelling, forecasting, emergency response and environmental risk assessment.
  • connecting oil and gas industry planning and regional environmental management.
  • assessing and potentially stopping risks such as seabed mining for ores and heavy metals.
  • assessing and managing risks associated with the expansion of shipping.

Manage the impacts of fishing and aquaculture by:

  • changing Australian fisheries so there are fewer boats but improved sustainability and profitability.
  • banning destructive fishing techniques such as trawling.
  • limiting destructive fishing by buying fishing licences.
  • ending targeted shark fishing.
  • addressing the impacts of recreational fishing as part of the overall management of Australian fisheries.
  • creating a movement for sustainable fishing with information and tools for consumers and seafood suppliers.
  • supporting the establishment of sustainable aquaculture focused on species that can be produced through lower impact systems and provide consumer advice on this.

Further the knowledge base on the marine environment by:

  • investing in marine sciences and research that improves management and builds our understanding of temperate and tropical marine systems.
  • supporting research that demonstrates the benefits of marine conservation.