OceanWatch Australia works with the seafood industry and the community to advance the sustainability of Australia’s seafood.

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Marine NRM

In March 2014, the Australian Government announced a coming of age for OceanWatch Australia, with recognition as the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Group for Australia’s marine environment.

Delivering on a 2013 election promise of further developing Australia’s sustainable fishing sector Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said,

OceanWatch should be very proud of its achievements, today becoming recognised as the NRM organisation with responsibility for enhancing fish habitats and the marine environment.”

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Marine NRM Interim Plan

OceanWatch Australia has been protecting biodiversity and threatened species for the benefit of the Australian marine environment since 1989.

With the adoption of best practices for fishing and aquaculture, the encouragement of stewardship actions amongst coastal and marine users, and undertaking works to protect, rehabilitate, restore and enhance the marine environment as our core focus, we now embark upon our new role as Australia’s Marine Natural Resource Management organisation, responsible for the delivery of the Commonwealth Government’s marine natural resource management related programs.

Following consultations with key stakeholders, we have previously provided the draft release of the National Marine Natural Resource Management Plan 2017-2022. The Marine NRM Plan is now in it’s interim stage and can be viewed below.

Interim marine NRM plan 2017

How can OceanWatch Australia work with other NRM Organisations?

OceanWatch Australia is the 56th NRM in Australia but the only marine based resource management organisation. With a diverse range of stakeholders and relationships within the salt water community spanning over 27 years, we believe the specialist knowledge of the salt water community is vital to regional NRM planning, decisions and activities and that wealth of information can support environmental program success.

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Marine NRM Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

OceanWatch will need to engage a large number and diverse range of stakeholders who manage, impact or interact
with marine natural resources. All engagement activities will be guided by this Marine NRM – Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
which describes our engagement mandate and principles, identifies our key stakeholders.

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Indigenous Participation Strategy

The purpose of the Indigenous Participation Strategy is to develop partnerships with Indigenous people and communities so they have the opportunity to fully participate in land and sea management, utilising their significant and unique knowledge, skills and understanding.

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NRM Planning Process

National Marine NRM Expert Advisory Group (NMEAG)

The purpose of the NMEAG is to ensure OceanWatch can utilise strong working relationships with key stakeholders to enhance National Marine NRM Plan development and OceanWatch’s coastal marine NRM operational activities. NMEAG’s role is to provide expert advice on the strategic objectives of the National Marine NRM Programme and development of the National Marine NRM Plan. including the strategic direction of Marine NRM operational activities and review of progress against National Marine NRM programme objectives.


Membership of the NMEAG includes individuals with knowledge and expertise in the following areas:

    • Marine science

    • Recreational fishing

    • Commercial wild-catch fishing

    • Aquaculture

    • Catchment health

    • Indigenous fishing

    • NRM practice

    • Social science

    • Coastal community

    • Environmental NGO

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National marine NRM Survey Results

To get us started on our marine NRM journey, an online survey was distributed through marine NRM networks. Survey respondents answered a range of questions revealing:

      • current engagement with NRM planning, decision making and projects

      • marine NRM values

      • support for the marine NRM vision

      • prioritisation of threats to the health of the marine environment

      • prioritisation of future marine NRM actions

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National Fishing and Aquaculture Forum Report

The OceanWatch Australia Fishing and Aquaculture Forum aimed to establish the values, benefits and key opportunities for Marine NRM now and into the future. Twenty-two participants undertook a full day workshop of surveys and engagement activities to establish a baseline of the seafood community’s understanding, perceptions and expectation of Marine NRM. Each participant was invited based on their breadth of knowledge across multiple fishing and aquaculture perspectives.

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Marine and Coastal Environmental Policy Review 2016

Marine NRM plays a non-regulatory role, extending and progressing best practice beyond  a regulatory underpinning. Understanding the role of policy is important however, as the vast majority of detail within policy provides precedence to actions that protect the environment and show where those charged with regulatory roles can act. The non- mandatory areas where social license or moral conscience is growing in importance as the reason for individuals or business to regulate behaviour is constantly evolving. The document presented here is a NRM practitioner’s summary of the myriad of legislation as it applies to activities undertaken on the coast and within marine waters of Australia.

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