Marine and Coastal Areas, and Fisheries

Ecosystems-based management is the most sustainable and appropriate model for the management of Australia's marine territories.


The Australian Greens believe that:

1. A cooperative national and international approach to the management of our marine environment is required to deliver clean and healthy oceans, integrated ecosystems and sustainable coastal communities.

2. The application of the precautionary principle is fundamental to the sustainable management of marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

3. Fisheries must be managed as a part of a broader ecosystem which meets the needs of natural predators as well as humans, and reduces by-catch.

4.  First Nations peoples' rights to sea country must be recognised as well as the right and freedom to access customary fishing grounds sustainably.

5. The health of Australia's marine, estuarine, and coastal environment is dependent on land and waste management that recognises the interconnectedness of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

6. Ecosystems-based management is the most sustainable and appropriate model for the management of Australia's marine territories.

7. The health of Australia's fishing industries is dependent on adequate conservation and sustainable management measures that ensure the replenishment of fishing stocks.

8. Sea level rise, ocean warming, acidification, and increased severity and frequency of storms as a result of climate change pose grave threats to marine and coastal ecosystems.

9. Australia has a role in protecting the world's oceans including advocating for sustainable fishery practices on the high seas.


The Australian Greens want:

1. Statutory ecosystems-based bio-regional marine planning that enables the full range of uses and impacts to be identified and managed, and allocates resources across and within marine industry sectors.

2. The protection and conservation of key target and endangered marine species and elimination of fishery by-catch and habitat damage from both commercial and recreational fishing and other marine activities.

3. A strengthened cooperative national approach to the identification, containment and eradication of introduced marine pests.

4. The protection and conservation of marine mammals and protection of their habitat.

5. A global ban on commercial and so-called ‘scientific take’ or other killing of all whales and other cetaceans, except for sustainable indigenous subsistence hunting, and a ban on the sale of whale meat and by-products.

6. To incorporate First Nations knowledge and practices in the management of marine resources.   

7. To ensure First Nations customary rights to traditional cultural fishing practices in accordance with protection of any threatened and endangered species.

8. The inclusion in the Indigenous Protected Areas Program of marine based proclamations and management programs for using traditional marine law and customary tenure systems for ecologically sustainable marine management.

9. The elimination of sources of marine pollution and hazards, including harmful and toxic waste dumping.

10. Stronger regulation of shipping and marine installations in Australian waters including the phasing out of single skinned tankers.

11. Restrictions on the use of seismic devices, mining techniques and other technologies, including the testing of military and naval explosive devices in the oceans, which cause ecological harm, particularly to marine mammals.

12. Payment by resource companies of the full costs of clean-up and monitoring of any marine and coastal damage resulting from their activities.

13. Adequate public funding for research to inform protection, conservation and responsible management of Australian marine and coastal environments.

14. The implementation of a national system of marine reserves with effective management plans to protect marine ecosystems.

15. The introduction of national standards for the ecological health of all marine and coastal bio-regions.

16. The management of recreational and commercial fisheries under a national framework to maintain sustainable fish populations and fisheries, and to minimise negative environmental impacts of fishing.

17. An evidence-based strategy to establish and maintain adequate, representative and comprehensive marine sanctuaries in all marine bio-regions for the conservation of marine biodiversity, fish nursery habitat and fish stocks, supported by a comprehensive marine habitat mapping system

18. The continuation by Australia of its proactive stance on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, including assisting in the development of alternative employment opportunities for impoverished communities that rely on the illegal trade.

19. A national framework for the assessment and regulation of environmentally-benign aquaculture developments based on ecosystems management principles.

20. A moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters and reduction in by-catch in all trawl fisheries.

21. A ban on all large factory-freezer vessels in the small pelagic fisheries.

22. Sustainable employment transition programs to assist commercial fishers and people employed in associated industries affected by changes in marine management practices.

23. A comprehensive threat abatement plan that details measures to prevent and mitigate the impact of marine plastics and other debris on marine life.

(Marine and Coastal Areas, and Fisheries Policy as amended by Special National Conference August 2020.)