Speaking at the first Ocean Business Leaders’ Summit in Sydney at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Minister The Hon. Tanya Plibersek, MP has announced the development of a National Sustainable Ocean Plan as a ‘roadmap’ to help determine ‘the kind of future we want for our oceans’.
Development of the plan will work with existing industries including fishing, aquaculture, shipping and offshore energy, and account for new entrants including offshore renewables, emerging fisheries, the space sector and defence.
In making the announcement the Minister said, “The commitment is a result of Australia’s membership of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy – and it is one we will deliver on. It will identify key areas for reform and set out a concrete plan for how we conserve and manage our oceans now and into the future, so that we can continue to make the most of our blue economy.
"We’ll be doing this in close collaboration with the people and businesses who have a close stake in the ocean, which includes everyone here today, as well as the State and Territory governments. Later this year, we will be hosting a National Ocean Summit, to help shape and formulate the Sustainable Ocean Plan.”
Organisers of today’s meeting, Ocean Decade Australia, say this is a historic meeting as the first genuine cross-sector conversation about the ocean realm.
Ocean Decade Australia Chair, Jas Chambers noted, “Through our consultation, it was the private sector – banking and finance, business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders who identified an opportunity and a gap.
"The opportunity is to see the ocean neighbourhood and value its resources, which is often absent from corporate decision-making processes. A significant gap exists where those already working in the ocean neighbourhood, and newer entrants from finance and renewable energy, do not have a natural way to meet and talk to each other.”
"This is a problem in a shared neighbourhood with no fences”, says Jas Chambers.
Summit Director, Dr Lucy Buxton noted “The ocean requires private sector actors joining with science and research, policy makers and regulators while being mindful of inclusivity, equity of use and access.
"We have designed the Summit with that complexity as a point of focus and brought together many good minds to do more than not just have a nice chat. We have to do the work to determine how the neighbourhood could work better and progress thinking.”
Minister Plibersek announced that the Minderoo Foundation and the federal government, through Parks Australia, have finalised a partnership agreement to work together on sustainable ocean management.
“This partnership will focus on cutting edge environmental DNA work, which could help us monitor ocean life far quicker than traditional methods of data collection. It means we could dip a bucket into the water – and by the power of science detect if an endangered species has been in the area recently.”
The meeting is running in Sydney for 1.5 days and has brought together more than 220 participants to discuss topics including Ocean Knowledge, Valuing Nature, Ocean Governance and Management, Ocean Energy, Ocean Health, Ocean Finance, Ocean Food and Ocean Equity.
Leaders from all sectors were invited to the Summit, following 2 years of consultation by Ocean Decade Australia.
The output of the Summit will be a White Paper that is expected to provide guidance for the National Sustainable Ocean Plan.
Ocean Decade Australia
Ocean Decade Australia is a not-for-profit organisation with one client: the Ocean. In 2017 the United Nations declared 2021 – 2030 the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Since late 2020, Ocean Decade Australia has been consulting and connecting Australia’s ocean stakeholders seeking to understand what success looks like for a sustainable ocean future for Australia, and how we will measure it. Our mission is to do this through information and resources, networking, knowledge, and learning, towards achieving ocean health and wealth for generations we will never meet.
The development and design of the Ocean Business Leaders’ Summit is a direct result of these conversations. More information about previous events and surveys is available at: https://oceandecadeaustralia.org