Repairing Australia's estuaries for improved fisheries production: what benefits, at what cost?

Creighton, Colin, Boon, Paul I., Brookes, Justin D., and Sheaves, Marcus (2015) Repairing Australia's estuaries for improved fisheries production: what benefits, at what cost? Marine and Freshwater Research, 66 (6). pp. 493-507.

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An Australia-wide assessment of ~1000 estuaries and embayments undertaken by the National Land and Water Resources Audit of 1997–2002 indicated that ~30% were modified to some degree. The most highly degraded were in New South Wales, where ~40% were classified as 'extensively modified' and <10% were 'near pristine'. Since that review, urban populations have continued to grow rapidly, and increasing pressures for industrial and agricultural development in the coastal zone have resulted in ongoing degradation of Australia's estuaries and embayments. This degradation has had serious effects on biodiversity, and commercial and recreational fishing. A business case is developed that shows that an Australia-wide investment of AU$350 million into repair will be returned in less than 5 years. This return is merely from improved productivity of commercial fisheries of a limited number of fish, shellfish and crustacean species. Estuary repair represents an outstanding return on investment, possibly far greater than most of Australia's previous environmental repair initiatives and with clearly demonstrated outcomes across the Australian food and services economies.

Item ID: 41800
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: biodiversity, coasts, embayments, repair
Funders: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Australian Government Biodiversity Fund
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:39
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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