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The State of the Coastal and Marine Environment B

Source: Adapted from Biolinks, Newsletter on Biological Diversity Conservation Actions, Issue No.10, Biodiversity Unit, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Canberra, 1996, p. 12; and Our Sea, Our Future: Major Findings of the State of the Marine Environment Report for Australia, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, Canberra, 1995, p. 96.

The marine environment is critical to the natural and cultural heritage of the world. Many marine areas support the life cycles of a great diversity of plants and animals and the oceans are an essential part of climatic cycles and other global processes.

Coastal and marine ecosystems and resources provide food, minerals, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and a vast range of other products used by people. They also support fisheries and the growing tourism and recreation industries and play a vital role in transport, and in the culture and lifestyle of coastal communities.

The ultimate goal of coastal and marine studies is to assist in "maintaining biodiversity and ecologically sustainable development. The alternatives are continuing environmental degradation and ecological collapse."