Changes in pressures on the marine environment over three decades

Pressures in the marine environment will change the status and trends of many different values (ecological, social and economic). However, an understanding of how pressure has changed around Australia has not been available until now. This analysis shows that pressure in all the marine regions (Temperate-East, South-East, South-West, North-West and North) is highly variable and changes as a function of regulatory, social and economic interests. There is a general pattern of decreases in fisheries and increases in oil and gas and shipping activities. Increased cumulative pressure especially evident in the South-West due to increases in some fisheries, anthropogenic noise and climate change. However, all other marine regions show increases in many combinations of pressure and climate change remains present in all regions. The overlaps with matters of national environmental significance (MNES) are identified and may be responsible for changes in their status. It is recommended that the next stage of this work is to identify which pressures affect each MNES (and by how much) and use this information to develop national heat maps that identify for each MNES where the cumulative pressures are greatest. The pressure data has been collated, supplied to the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE), available through web services, and used in the 2016 State of the Environment (SOE) report.

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