What are Areas for Further Assessment?
The identification of Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) was an important step in refining information on human uses and socio-economic values in the marine environment. AFAs are large areas that encompass examples of the range of biodiversity and ecosystems within each marine region. They were identified through assessment of information using the Goals and Principles for the Establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth Waters.
Areas for Further Assessment are not the proposed boundaries for new marine reserves. They are areas within which future marine reserves are likely to be located as an outcome of the marine bioregional planning process. The reason they were identified was to aid further analysis of information at a more detailed scale and assist in the design of new marine reserves. Consultations on the AFAs assisted in identifying potential social and economic impacts that may occur with the establishment of marine reserves in these areas and how those impacts can be minimised.
Based on ecological information and information obtained from stakeholders on their activities within the Areas for Further Assessment, the location and zoning arrangements of a new network of marine reserves will be developed. This process aims to ensure that conservation outcomes are maximised while socio-economic costs associated with establishing marine reserves are minimised.