Ten Guiding Principles for Marine and Coastal Management

Ten Guiding Principles for Marine and Coastal Management

(Endorsed by delegates at Coast to Coast Conference, Hobart, 20th April 2018; Endorsed by Australian Coastal Society, 2 May, 2018)

Preamble: As marine and coastal practitioners we recognise Australia’s diverse marine and coastal environments as ecosystems with intrinsic values that need to be cared for, wisely used, and effectively managed, to ensure these are sustained now and into the future.

These 10 guiding principles, intentionally broad, reflect current best practice in marine and coastal management. They provide guideposts for marine and coastal practitioners in the development of comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable responses to the challenges of managing Australia’s coasts and seas, and offer points of reflection in the review of policies, plans and programs.


1. Managing Country Together: Australian marine and coastal planning, management, and practice will be built on partnerships with Indigenous peoples, and respect for thousands of years of effective stewardship and traditional and contemporary Aboriginal knowledge.

2. Empowering Community: Marine and coastal practitioners will seek to foster leadership, build a culture of respect and stewardship for marine and coastal values, and empower communities to actively participate in decision making.

3. Recognising People and Nature: The interests of those that derive benefit or livelihoods from the coast or seas be they economic, social, environmental, or spiritual, are recognised and we seek to find balance between these interests and the needs of the natural world in our planning, protection, and use.

4. Integrating Management: Marine and coastal planning and management will be integrated within a framework that considers natural systems and the linkages between the land and seascapes.

5. Working Collectively: Spatial planning provides opportunities to bring together stakeholders, decision makers, and communities, in the development of marine and coastal policies, whilst also helping to build understanding and collaboration among different sectors. 

6. Recognising Constant Change: The dynamic nature of marine and coastal systems requires adaptive management approaches in planning. 

7. Climate Change Urgency: Action is required now to reduce the impacts of climate change on Australia’s marine and coastal environments.

8. Evidence Based Decision Making: Effective marine and coastal management will be informed and evaluated by science and ensure that new information is incorporated into our decision making. 

9. Engaging Hearts and Minds: In creating sustainable futures for our marine and coastal environments the arts provide unique opportunities to engage hearts and minds, and enhance the contributions from other disciplines and practitioners.

10. Collaborating: Transparent networking and collaborative opportunities are fundamental for knowledge transfer and developing communities of shared practice to better care for Australia’s marine and coastal environments.