OceanWatch Australia works with the seafood industry and the community to ensure Australia’s marine environment is healthy, productive, valued and used in a responsible way.

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Learn about Marine Natural Resource Management, Australia’s marine jurisdiction, Australia’s wild caught and aquaculture industries and the species and techniques used for harvest.

Natural resource management

Australian’s do a pretty good job at keeping the marine environment healthy, but there remain challenges.

Natural resource management is about taking care of natural resources like water, plants and animals, with a focus on balancing the needs of communities with the needs of the environment. Good stewardship comes from an understanding of what we do on land and water, and how this affects the marine environment.

Australia’s marine jurisdiction

Australia’s marine jurisdiction covers 8.2 million square kilometers, bigger than the land mass of Australia. Our marine space supports a diverse range of species, habitats, people and activities.

Biosecurity & Marine Pests

Biosecurity means the security of our biological resources, that is plants, animals and water. Biosecurity measures aim to reduce the risk of infectious diseases, and prevent invasive species destroying native wildlife and damaging habitats. Introduced marine pests are species moved to an area outside their natural range, generally by human activities, which may threaten the environment, human health or economic values of marine areas. Marine pests may be introduced to Australian waters and moved around by a variety of means; including ballast water discharged by commercial shipping, bio-fouling on hulls and inside internal seawater pipes of commercial shipping, commercial and recreational fishing vessels, aquaculture operations, aquarium imports, as well as marine debris and ocean currents.

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A catchment is an area of land where water collects when it rains, often bounded by hills. As the water flows over the landscape it finds its way into streams and down into the soil, eventually feeding into rivers and estuaries and then into the ocean. Some water stays underground and continues to slowly feed rivers in times of low rainfall.


Water quality

Water quality is a measure of the condition of water, relative to the requirements of the organisms that rely on it to survive.

We consider water quality in terms of the plants and animals that live in or on it, and how safe it is for humans to do things like swim, boat, surf or fish in it.


Aquaculture is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants with some sort of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding and protection from predators.

Simply, aquaculture (sometimes called ‘aqua farming’) is the farming of seafood, rather than harvesting it from the wild.

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Wild Harvest Fisheries

Wild harvest fishing is catching fish and other species in the wild, in contrast to controlled areas like aquaculture farms. Wild harvest fishing in Australia is also referred to as wild catch or wild capture fisheries.

These fisheries are controlled by state, territory and federal regulations as well as local, regional, fishery specific and international codes of practice.

Learn more about Australia’s wild harvest seafood industry.

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