This chapter reports on the state of our vast system of marine waters and seabed. The present-day condition and trends for marine ecosystems, biodiversity and ecological health over the period 2005 to 2010 are assessed and reported in a standardised report card system (assessment summaries), based on the expert judgement provided by a selected group of experienced Australian marine scientists at a series of national condition assessment workshops. The design, methodology and outcomes of the assessment workshop process are available on the State of Environment (SoE) website.a Supplementary materials for various sections of this chapter are also available on the website.
The chapter also examines the pressures for change that marine systems are experiencing and the risks they face in the near future. This information is used to project an outlook for the marine environment for the next 20–50 years. Some further important aspects of the marine environment are described and reported in Chapter 2: Drivers, Chapter 8: Biodiversity and Chapter 11: Coasts. The state of the waters of Australia's Antarctic Territory is reported in Chapter 7: Antarctic environment.