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Australia launches first regional ocean management plan

Australia launched its first ocean management action plan designed to promote sustainable marine industries while protecting fragile ecosystems off the country’s southeast coast. The initiative concerns waters off the states of Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia as well as around Macquarie Island in the sub-Antarctic — a marine region under pressure from urban development, shipping, fishing and oil production. Regional marine planning is designed to reduce future conflicts between users of the ocean and its resources, protecting ecosystems as well as providing certainty for marine industries. The plan creates a National Oceans Ministerial Board, including the portfolios of industry, science, transport, tourism and environment. For the first time this integrated system of oceans management takes all uses of our oceans into account rather than the sector-by-sector approach that was used previously,” Kemp said. “This will ensure that key ecosystems are protected, providing for the sustainable development of marine industries currently valued at more than 30 billion dollars (20 billion US) a year. The government said the new policy would help avoid resource management mistakes that have damaged marine environments elsewhere.