The proposal addresses a number of specific needs, as expressed in the FRDC research and development plan:
- Effects of fishing activities on fish and their ecosystems (Program 1, Strategy 3) - information on the spatial distribution and intensity of catch of species and effort is fundamental to assessing the effects of fishing on the environment. It is also very useful in assessment of individual stocks.
- Access to fisheries resources (Program 1, Strategy 8) - the distribution and value of fishing, as well as the potential social and economic impacts, is a vital consideration in multiple use planning (eg. Marine Protected Area planning).
- Fisheries and ecosystems management (Program 1, Strategy 10) - the proposal would make a significant contribution to ecosystem based and multiple use planning under the Regional Marine Planning process.
- Economic and social values of the industry and its impacts (Program 2, Strategy 2) - the proposal specifically aims to investigate socio-economic aspects of fisheries and connect these to marine resources. This will also assist in fulfilling ESD requirements.
- Community education (Program 3, Strategy 4) - the two major outputs (paper and web) will be widely available and comprise a valuable information resource for all Australians.
A tight schedule has been set for the development of Regional Marine Plans across Australia. Planning will require detailed information on the nature and extent of marine fishing activities. Nowhere has this information been drawn together to provide a body of data for use in regional marine planning. To ensure that the interests of the fishing industry are appropriately represented in the planning process it is important that accurate information is presented in a form that will be useful.
Similarly, the socio-economic nature of coastal communities and their degree of dependence on marine fisheries resources is poorly understood. The proposed research will provide a basis for identifying the social impacts of proposed changes to fisheries management arrangement and developing strategies for appropriate government interventions to reduce adverse impacts.
The Atlas of Australian Marine Fishing and Coastal Communities is the first Australia-wide, comprehensive and authoritative mapping initiative presenting an overview of Australian fishing activities and coastal communities.
The Atlas shows where fish are caught in Australia’s oceans, the value of those catches, where different fishing gears are used and the species that are taken. It also provides information on the socio-economic characteristics of coastal communities in eight Marine Regions around Australia.
This information has not previously been readily available at regional and national levels and therefore difficult to take into consideration when planning. The Atlas is comprised of two products, this document, Marine Matters National and a companion website featuring an interactive online mapping system (www.brs.gov.au/fishcoast).
Marine Matters National has been produced to inform decision makers responsible for the management of activities in Australia’s marine waters, and to aid the Australian and State/Territory Governments in developing and implementing policy initiatives. It is also a flexible and readily accessible information source for anyone with an interest in the management of Australia’s marine estate.
Marine Matters provides decision makers with a credible scientific resource for informing current and future marine and coastal planning initiatives.
It is the first comprehensive and authoritative description of the range and extent of human activities in the South-East Marine Region and their relationship to coastal communities. For the first time readers can see where fish are caught in Australia's oceans, the value of those catches, and find information on a wide range of industrial, recreational and other uses.
This Atlas also describes coastal communities in the Region, identifies those that depend on commercial fishing and gauges the potential social impacts of changing access to resources. It is a powerful platform to inform debate and decision making.