Managing the Coast

Tasmania's coast is a valuable and irreplaceable asset with diverse and sensitive natural and cultural values that require protection. Coastal landscapes of dunes, beaches, rocky shorelines, coastal wetlands, estuaries and saltmarshes support important vegetation communities and wildlife habitat. Tasmania's coast is also rich in Aboriginal heritage values and an important part of contemporary Aboriginal culture.

Diverse and significant coastal wildlife, including migratory shorebirds and waders stopover on Tasmanian wetlands, and shorebird species, hardly seen on mainland Australia, nest on more remote beaches. The cool temperate coastal waters contain significant marine communities including vast seagrass beds, kelp forests and a very high level of endemism (species only found here).

In this Topic

  • Access Management
    Providing public access to the coast is important but controlling access is often necessary to protect coastal landforms and to maintain public safety.
  • Climate Change
    The Tasmanian Coastal Works Manual adopts a precautionary approach to climate change and sea level rise and suggests that coastal managers should plan for the upper levels of predicted changes.
  • Coast Physical Factors
    The coastal zone is not a stable and constant environment, but a dynamic place that can change rapidly in response to natural processes such as seasonal weather patterns.
  • Coastal Landscapes
    The Tasmanian coastal landscape includes rocky reefs, sandy beaches, sea cliffs, headlands, lagoons, river estuaries, harbours and open coast.
  • Community Values
    Tasmanians are fortunate to have such vast and diverse coastal areas to enjoy and they have a long association with living and recreating on the coast.
  • Tasmanian Coastal Works Manual
    The manual aims to encourage more consistent use of best practice management techniques; and improve the resilience of Tasmania's coastline to sustain future effects of climate change and sea level rise.

With the launch of the Coastal Works Manual in December 2010, there is a now a significant improvement in information to help decision makers who work on the coast. The Coastal Works Manual can be downloaded from this section and provides information on how the coast is formed, types of coastal landscapes, and management approaches to climate change, illegal tree clearing, dog access and public access ways to the beach.

In the past, Tasmania's coastline has hosted industries and economies ranging from shipping and transport, whaling and sealing, through to mining of lime. Today coastal areas provide essential port infrastructure and are critical to transport and shipping operations. A number of heavy industries have been established on the coast, primarily to make use of the supply of water for cooling, and other industries such as fishing and aquaculture are intrinsically reliant on coastal areas.

Beautiful or iconic stretches of coastline are often the site of tourism ventures and developments such as resorts, caravan parks and golf courses. Extensive coastal areas adjacent to our cities and towns are prime real estate for coastal subdivisions whilst more remote locations often have coastal shack communities.

Tasmanians are fortunate to have such an abundance and variety of coastal areas to enjoy for recreation, and they have a long association with living and recreating on the coast. No place in Tasmania is more than 115km from the sea and most population centres and major industries are on or near the coast (Page and Thorp 2010).

Tasmania has a remarkably long coastline for its size, due to a highly indented shoreline with large estuaries, harbours and embayments, and many offshore islands, including those in the Furneaux Group and King, Maria, Bruny and Macquarie Islands (Sharples 2006). Tasmania has a longer coastline than Victoria and NSW combined (Mount 2001).