Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Australian Marine Parks are areas established under Australian environmental law to help us to conserve the spectacular marine life of our oceans and are managed by Parks Australia. They are situated in Commonwealth waters which generally extend from over three nautical miles off the coast to the outer limit of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles). Marine parks closer in-shore are the responsibility of the states or the Northern Territory.

The creation and effective management of marine parks is one of the most valuable ways to maintain the long-term health and productivity of our oceans.

The creation and effective management of marine parks is one of the most valuable ways to maintain the long-term health and productivity of our oceans.

A review of Australian Commonwealth Marine Reserves was completed in 2015 and plans are now being finalised for managing Australian Marine Parks around the country over the next 10 years.

The former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) has been included within the larger new Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve, increasing the area covered from 19,395 square km to 45,926 square km.

A management plan will be developed in accordance with the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The plan will provide for the protection and conservation of each reserve by setting out how it will be managed, what activities will be allowed or prohibited and how this will be done.

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In addition to the restrictions imposed through the Australian Marine Reserves, all offshore petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters must be undertaken in accordance with the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations. This process is independently and rigorously regulated by NOPSEMA.
Read more about the regulation and assessment process here.

Proposed 2017 Great Australian Bight Marine Reserve

Five types of zones are represented within The Bight marine reserves. Refer to the above maps for those areas. An overview of the allowed activities in each zone is available here. Oil and gas activities are not permitted in Special Purpose Zones (SPZ) with O&G exclusions, Habitat Protection Zones (HPZ) and Marine National Parks. It is worth noting that in the South-West Commonwealth Marine Network (which covers the area from the easternmost end of Kangaroo Island, off South Australia, to the waters offshore of Shark Bay in WA) the area zoned as SPZ where mining, including oil and gas activities is prohibited, has more than doubled.

See zone activities

Current GAB Marine Park

Proposed 2017 GAB Marine Reserve