This project will develop socio-economic approaches to valuing biodiversity to support implementation of management objectives in the CMR network management plan, and approval and permitting of new infrastructure developments. The project will have three main components: 1) to assist development of performance indicators in the Commonwealth Southeast Marine Reserve Network; 2) to develop options for using incentives to increase stewardship of CMRs, especially in support of monitoring and compliance in multiple-use zones; and 3) provide biodiversity valuations to support decisions on new approvals (in areas to be determined in consultation with the Department).

An early emphasis will be on working with the Marine Division to understand management objectives for the Southeast CMR network management plan, with the aim of providing quantifiable measures that can be used to compare the efficacy and cost of different options to monitor and manage marine biodiversity, including assessing the data needs. The initial task will use a variety of approaches in working with the Marine Division to develop quantitative performance indicators for managing the Southeast CMR network. This is an essential component of developing a sustained monitoring blue-print for this network, and this project will developed jointly with the Marine Division and National Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting - Project 1: Collation and analysis of existing data sets. 

The second component will be to work with the Marine Division to identify management options and incentives that would support a sharing of responsibility and stewardship of the CMR network, with an initial focus on the Southeast. The goal of this work will be to assess how best to involve marine users in the monitoring and performance assessment of CMRs, especially multiple-use zones, and how alternative approaches to involving marine users affects their support, stewardship and compliance. This research has the potential to be extended to also inform how existing users of the marine environment would respond to management options likely to be considered in implementing marine bioregional plans more generally. A focus for this extension will be determined in consultation with the Department.

The third component will be to derive and compare economic values for marine biodiversity and habitats, at different scales (eg. local and regional) and to different stakeholders. This will support development of monitoring plans, the comparison of alternative management options, and decisions associated with the approval and permitting of new marine developments, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Early discussions will be held with the Department to provide a geographic focus for this research.