The evolution of marine conservation and marine protected areas in Australia



Publication Details

Kenchington, R. (2016). The evolution of marine conservation and marine protected areas in Australia. In J. Fitzsimons & G. Wescott (Eds.), Big, Bold and Blue : Lessons from Australia's Marine Protected Areas (pp. 29-42). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.


Since the late 19th century the understanding of human impacts on the marine environment has been in a process of transformation from a cultural and legal view of the seas and their resources as infinite, dangerous, available and too great to be affected by widespread human impacts. By the late 20th century there was growing understanding that human impacts were widespread, increasing and threatening the sustainability of biological diversity and ecosystem services. It is now internationally accepted that these threats should be mitigated for reasons ranging from food and physical security (prevention of illegal entry to, and use of, marine space and resources) and biosecurity (prevention of introduction of alien species or disease). This acceptance has reflected growing awareness of opportunities for new and increasing economic uses of marine space from the Review Committee on Marine Industries, Science and Technology (1989) to the 'Blue Economy' (UNCSD 2014). In 1988, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) adopted a primary goal for marine conservation: 'To provide for the protection, restoration, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the marine heritage of the world in perpetuity through creation of a global, representative system of marine protected areas and through the management, in accordance with the principles of the World Conservation Strategy, of human activities that use or affect the marine environment' (IUCN 1988).

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