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IX-21 Southeast Australian Shelf: LME #42

posted on 2023-05-22, 21:14 authored by Aquarone, MC, Adams, S, Stewart FrusherStewart Frusher, Suthers, IM
The world’s coastal ocean waters continue to be degraded by unsustainable fishing practices, habitat degradation, eutrophication, toxic pollution, aerosol contamination, and emerging diseases. Against this background is a growing recognition among world leaders that positive actions are required on the part of governments and civil society to redress global environmental and resource degradation with actions to recover depleted fish populations, restore degraded habitats and reduce coastal pollution. No single international organization has been empowered to monitor and assess the changing states of coastal ecosystems on a global scale, and to reconcile the needs of individual nations to those of the community of nations for taking appropriate mitigation and management actions. However, the World Summit on Sustainable Development convened in Johannesburg in 2002 recognized the importance for coastal nations to move more expeditiously toward sustainable development and use of ocean resources. Participating world leaders agreed to pursue 4 marine targets: (i) to achieve substantial reductions in land-based sources of pollution by 2006; (ii) to introduce an ecosystems approach to marine resource assessment and management by 2010; (iii) to designate a network of marine protected areas by 2012; and (iv) to maintain and restore fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield levels by 2015. At present, 110 developing countries are moving toward these targets in joint international projects supported, in part, by financial grants by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in partnership with scientific and technical assistance from UN partner agencies, donor countries and institutions, and nongovernmental organizations including the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Many of these projects are linked to ecosystem-based initiatives underway in Europe and North America. This report is a result of a collaborative effort to promote a global view of conditions within LMEs across the North-South divide. It was generously coordinated by UNEP Regional Seas Programme, and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA Coordination Office) in The Hague, Netherlands. In summer 2005 it was agreed that UNEP, in partnership with the GEFsupported Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) project, and NOAA’s Large Marine Ecosystem Program, would provide synopses of ecological conditions for each of the worlds’ Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs). In accordance with the outcome of a series of consultations among the three parties, it was concluded that the five-module LME assessment framework of productivity, fish and fisheries, pollution and ecosystem health, socioeconomics, and governance, would provide a useful basis for describing ecological conditions within the world’s LMEs. The synopses are relatively brief for the LMEs adjacent to the more economically developed countries where ecological conditions are fairly well documented by periodically released reports, published in print or electronically, on various sectoral interests including: fisheries, pollution, habitats, tourism, shipping, oil and gas production and mineral extraction. Sources for this summary information are provided for the reader. Whereas, for the LMEs bordering countries less economically developed in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the synopses are longer. They are based on information collected through GIWA and the GEF-LME project planning and implementation process using information that would otherwise not be readily available in the published marine assessment and management literature. The synopses were prepared by two principal authors, Dr. Sherry Heileman and Dr. Marie Christine Aquarone. For several LME synopses, where one or more of the peer reviewers added substantially to the description of ecological conditions, they are listed as co-authors of the synthesis. Each of the 64 x synopses of ecological conditions includes standardized information on productivity (gCm-2y-1), ocean fronts, multi-decadal time series of trends in annual fishery yields, and changes in mean annual trophic levels of fish catch, as well as data on the physical extent (km2) of LMEs, the presence of sea mounts, coral reefs and linked rivers, watersheds and estuaries. Chapters I, through XVIII describe conditions of LMEs within the Regional Seas areas, followed by chapter XIX on the LMEs bordering Regional Seas areas. Three generic issues recur in the synopses: (1) the issue of encroachment of industrial fisheries into near coastal community based fisheries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the need for application of the precautionary principle to protect the food security and livelihood of coastal communities; (2) the need for improved forecasting of climate driven events affecting LME resources, especially during present extensive global climate change, and (3) the global scale increasing frequency and extent of eutrophication stress on ecosystem integrity and health. Examples of these issues are included in the introductory chapter. The substantial contribution in start-up funding by the GEF to 110 developing countries is enabling a global effort to go forward in initiating movement in Asia, Africa, and Latin America towards the WSSD marine targets. Although the way ahead is costly, a concerted and focused effort has been initiated. Within the context of the baseline initiated in this report, UNEP in partnership with other actors in the conservation and management of the marine and coastal environment will aim at measuring progress regularly through further editions of this report or through contributing to other reports such as the Global Marine Assessment (GMA). The Editors


Publication title

The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report: A perspective on changing conditions in LMEs of the world's Regional Seas. UNEP Regional Seas Report and Studies No. 182


K. Sherman and G. Hempel






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


United Nations Environment Program

Place of publication

Nairobi, Kenya



Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified

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