A new study is calling for Australia to play a bigger role in helping its poorer neighbours manage and exploit their maritime zones.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute paper says countries like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu all have large but underdeveloped offshore exclusive economic zones.
It says while the government aid agency AusAID does have some maritime aid programmes they tended to be unco-ordinated and lacking in focus.
The Institute says AusAID should make oceans a key theme of its work.
It says a dedicated focus across the spectrum of ocean management would support Australia's aid priorities of fostering economic growth in neighbouring developing countries and helping them to protect the marine environment.