• National Marine Science Plan

National Marine Science Plan 2015 - 2025

The National Marine Science Committee launched the National Marine Science Plan (NMSP) on 11 August 2015 at Australian Parliament House.

The Plan draws together the knowledge and experience of more than 24 marine research organisations, universities and government departments and more than 500 scientists.

The Plan outlines the science needed to provide the knowledge, technology and innovation cornerstones that will grow a sustainable blue economy. Our oceans have a very large number of stakeholders, particularly if we include all those Australians who expect their coasts and oceans to be healthy and productive.

The NMSP is a call to action, to the nation’s marine scientists, but also to all those who will benefit from a strong marine science sector that is dedicated to working with governments, industries and communities in the mission of ensuring that we get the most out of our marine estate while protecting the things we all care about.

Seven critical challenges

The Plan identifies seven critical challenges facing Australia and provides recommendations about how, in a coordinated way, marine science can support Australia in meeting those challenges. Those challenges are:

  • marine sovereignty, security and safety
  • energy security
  • food security
  • biodiversity, conservation and ecosystem health
  • urban coastal environments
  • climate variability and change
  • resource allocation. 


The Plan provides a set of recommendations for science that will be at the heart of dealing with these challenges.

The Plan’s Recommendations are:

  1. Create an explicit focus on the blue economy throughout the marine science system.
  2. Establish and support a National Marine Baselines and Long-term Monitoring Program, to develop a comprehensive assessment of our estate, and to help manage Commonwealth and State Marine Reserves.
  3. Facilitate coordinated national studies on marine system processes and resilience to enable understanding of development and climate change impacts on our marine estate.
  4. Create a National Oceanographic Modelling System to supply the accurate, detailed knowledge and predictions of ocean state that defense, industry and government need.
  5. Develop a dedicated and coordinated science program to support decision-making by policymakers and marine industry.
  6. Sustain and expand the Integrated Marine Observing System to support critical climate change and coastal systems research, including coverage of key estuarine systems.
  7. Develop marine science research training that is more quantitative, cross-disciplinary and congruent with the needs of industry and government.
  8. Fund national research vessels for full use.

Video - Release of National Marine Science Plan