The marine estate, incorporating its estuaries, coastline and marine waters, is a valuable asset that belongs to the community of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The benefits the community derive from it were assessed in a statewide Marine Estate Community Survey, with the health of the marine estate identified as a core value underpinning all other economic and social values and benefits. Its clean, safe waters, biodiversity and natural beauty support multiple uses and provide benefits that contribute to the community's well-being. These uses generate significant economic and social outcomes, including cultural and traditional-use benefits. However, they can also result in conflicts between users, and unsustainable use can also threaten the health of the marine estate resulting in the loss of community benefits. Management responses are often sector-focused, rather than examining the range of benefits and uses, their threats and cumulative interactions. In response, the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority is applying a new Threat and Risk Assessment Framework for the marine estate at both the statewide and Hawkesbury Shelf bioregion scales. These aim to identify and prioritise threats to environmental, social and economic benefits (collectively termed "community wellbeing") derived at these two spatial scales. The results inform the development of management responses which will be captured in a new 10-year Marine Estate Management Strategy, and recommendations for improving the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Hawkesbury bioregion. This paper outlines the process undertaken to inform these assessments, and identifies the key findings across the environmetal, social and economic areas.
- Risk assessment