Integrated Ocean Management

Integrated Ocean Management (IOM, IM) is an approach that links planning, decision-making and management arrangements across sectors in a unified framework, to enable a more comprehensive view of sustainability and the consideration of cumulative effects and trade-offs.

Our work is demonstrating how and where IOM can be used to advance sustainable development of the Blue Economy. There is the potential for the Blue Economy (BE) concept, if properly implemented, to assist in overcoming long-standing deficiencies in sector-based management approaches (including inconsistencies in management of different activities by different groups, an incomplete suite of objectives, lack of attention to trade-offs and inability to evaluate cumulative effects) and to improve integrated planning and management of new or expanding industries.

Implementation of IOM in the Blue Economy should facilitate Sustainable Ocean Planning required to meet aspirations of the High Level Oceans Panel and Sustainable Development Goals. 

Information Sheets


  • Stephenson, R. L. and A. J. Hobday (2024). Blueprint for Blue Economy implementation. Marine Policy:
    • This paper describes how integrated management can be implemented in a Blue Economy, and considers how objectives can be evaluated for a range of development scenarios.
  • Stephenson, R. L., A. J. Hobday, I. Butler, T. Cannard, M. Cowlishaw, I. Cresswell, C. Cvitanovic, J. Day, K. Dobbs, L. X. C. Dutra, S. Frusher, M. Fudge, B. Fulton, B. M. Gillanders, N. Gollan, M. Haward, T. Hutton, A. Jordan, J. McDonald, C. Macleod, G. Pecl, E. E. Plaganyi, I. v. Putten, J. Vince and T. Ward (2023). Integrating management of marine activities in Australia. Ocean and Coastal Management:
    • Here we compare the importance of nine key features and five anticipated stages of IM in prominent Australian examples: the Gladstone Harbour Project, the Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Prawn fishery and regional development, the South-East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership, the Australian Oceans Policy, the New South Wales Marine Estate reforms, and progress toward Integrated Management in the Spencer Gulf.
  • Stephenson, R. L., A. J. Hobday, E. H. Allison, D. Armitage, K. Brooks, A. Bundy, C. Cvitanovic, M. Dickey-Collas, N. d. M. Grilli, C. Gomez, A. Jarre, L. Kaikkonen, R. Kelly, R. Lopez, E.-K. Muhl, M. G. Pennino, J. C. Tam and I. v. Putten (2021). The quilt of sustainable ocean governance: Patterns for practitioners. Frontiers in Marine Science 8: 630547. doi: 630510.633389/fmars.632021.630547.
    • Here we compare a range of approaches to ocean sustainability concepts, and conclude that a combination of concepts and objectives can be woven together to achieve a cohesive quilt of sustainability.
  • Stephenson, R., A. J. Hobday, C. Cvitanovic, K. Alexander, G. Begg, R. Bustamante, P. Dunstan, S. Frusher, M. Fudge, B. Fulton, M. Haward, C. Macleod, J. McDonald, K. Nash, E. Ogier, G. Pecl, E. Plaganyi, I. v. Putten, T. Smith and T. Ward (2019). A practical framework for implementing and evaluating integrated management of marine activities. Ocean and Coastal Management 177: 127–138.
    • This paper describes the nine key features and five phases of implementation provide a lens for evaluation of Integrated Management.


Alistair Hobday (

Robert Stephenson (