The Oceans of Wealth? study released in 1989 stated, ‘Much of Australia's future is tied up with the sea’. This is as true today as it was almost ten years ago. Australia's exclusive economic zone is one and a half times larger than its land mass. It holds immense potential for economic and resource development. Of course, issues of security and protection go hand in hand with this potential. The oceans surrounding this island nation of ours hold the key to our economic development and to our ongoing national security. The scope of opportunities for wealth from the sea are only partly known and have only been partly explored.
Already our marine industries generate billions of dollars annually and with ongoing scientific and technological advances the potential for even greater revenue remains significant. With the potential for development gradually being recognised, the need for comprehensive planning in oceans management becomes even more vital. As Oceans of Wealth? stated in 1989, ‘it will be by good management alone that Australia will have oceans of wealth in the future’.
We in Australia have not progressed much since then. I hope that the Australian Government's paper ‘Australia's Oceans Policy’ will take us ahead. Cooperation between all Australian maritime sector stakeholders will ensure we realise the potential of our maritime environment without exploiting it beyond manageable levels.
The United Nations declared 1998 ‘The International Year of the Ocean’ in an attempt to promote understanding of and appreciation