Extract: Commonwealth of Australia (2000) Australia's Oceans Policy.  Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Department of Environment; Canberra.


The vision and goals for Australia’s Oceans Policy 2000 are consistent with a range of related national policies and agreements, including:

 • the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992);

• the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity
  (1996); and

• the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment 1992 and the Heads of
   Agreement on Roles and Responsibilities 1998.

Australia’s Oceans Policy has been developed within the context of these national policies.

Principles for ecologically sustainable ocean use

The following principles should be applied to all decisions and actions affecting access to and use of Australia’s marine jurisdictions and adjacent waters, and the associated resource base. They should be considered together, recognising that ocean ecosystem health and integrity is fundamental to ecologically sustainable development.

  • The maintenance of healthy and productive marine ecosystems is fundamental to the management of both the oceans and of the land.

  • The benefits from the use of Australia’s common ocean resources, and the responsibilities for their continued health and productivity, should be shared by all Australians.

  • Internationally competitive and ecologically sustainable marine industries are essential for wealth generation, employment and continued regional development.

  • Economic, environmental, social and cultural aspirations are to be accommodated through integrated planning and management of multiple uses of ocean resources.

  • Management of human activities that affect our oceans will require progressive improvement in our understanding of living and non-living ocean resources and processes.

  • Ocean planning and management decisions should be based on the best available scientific and other information, recognising that information regarding ocean resources will often be limited.

  • If the potential impact of an action is of concern, priority should be given to maintaining ecosystem health and integrity.

  • Incomplete information should not be used as a reason for postponing precautionary measures intended to prevent serious or irreversible environmental degradation of the oceans.

  • The processes for assessing, planning, allocating and managing the ocean resources should:

- be easily understood and openly justified;

- be certain;

- have clear lines of accountability;

- provide for equity within and between generations;

- be designed to deliver outcomes that balance long and short-term
   economic, environmental, social and cultural considerations;

- involve the minimum effective regulatory burden on ocean users
  required to meet   economic, environmental, cultural and social

- ensure cooperation and coordination between governments and across
  the sectors   which use the oceans; and

- take into account wider interests and ensure effective community