The first edition of the National Ocean Account is a view on what will be possible for future publications. This edition publishes experimental methods and data on mangrove and seagrass extent, condition, carbon stocks and selected ecosystem services. Additional information on saltmarsh and kelp will be released later in 2022. While each of these datasets is a preliminary and broad estimate, they are an insight into what is feasible into the future.
This discussion article highlights what was learnt through the development of the current publication. It is also a call for comments on the functionality and use of the accounts in this format, the methodology employed to produce the estimates, and whether there is a need for more geographically detailed and repeatable accounts.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is leading implementation of a National Strategy and Action Plan for Environmental-Economic Accounting. The National Ocean Ecosystem Account is funded as part of the $22.9 million commitment to support implementation of the Strategy.
In 2018 Australia became a member of High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel). This panel aims to increase international understanding of how sustainable use of the oceans – and the ocean economy – can play a key role in meeting the world's most vital needs in the years to come. Accounting for the coastal/marine environment is a key component of Australia’s participation in the Ocean Panel. Ocean accounts provide organised environmental-economic information that describes our relationship with the ocean.
Since October 2021, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and the Australian Bureau of Statistics have been working in collaboration on the first Ocean Account, an Experimental National Ocean Ecosystem Account. This Account has been compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in accordance with the standards set out in the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting.