Published Monday, 29 October 2012
Helen''s Bay, on the Co Down coast. (© Pacemaker)
The new unit will be responsible for creating and delivering policy and legislation to promote, protect and sustain the coastline - as well as implementing national, European and international laws.
It will be run by Mr Attwood's department.
The minister said coastal waters play a massive role in the lives of local people and said it is "vital" that the shore is protected.
He continued: "The wealth of its resources, the splendour of its biodiversity, the simple fact of it being a huge natural resource to be enjoyed, means it is vital that we concentrate our efforts to protect and sustain it. Therefore we need to make sure we are managing it properly."
Mr Attwood said he aims to have all marine functions across Stormont departments brought together into an independent marine management organisation.
"This new marine division is an important step towards developing fully integrated marine management across government," he said.
"It sends out the message we will strongly protect the marine, look for sustainable development and ensure the marine interest punches to its weight in government."