The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve covers an area of more than 980 000 km2 and encompasses the former Coral Sea Conservation Zone and the former Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reef National Nature Reserves.
Transitional management arrangements have been implemented for the new marine reserves to cover the period until statutory management plans come into effect in July 2014. There will be no changes in on water activities for any users during this period.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), any activity in a marine reserve requires approval from the Director of National Parks in the period between proclamation of the reserves and the implementation of a management plan. This applies to existing commercial activities, including those that involve the taking of native species (fishing). This approval from the Director of National Parks is issued under section 359B of the EPBC Act. Approval can be given to both individuals and to classes of persons, and can be issued with or without conditions on the approved activity.
The Director of National Parks has issued three general approvals for all new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserve estate in the Coral Sea. These general approvals correspond to the area of the former Coral Sea Conservation Zone. Separate approvals have been issued for areas within former Commonwealth marine reserves, including the former Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve and former Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve.
The general approvals for the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve provide for the following activities to continue while a management plan is prepared:
- Commercial fishing
- Recreational (non-commercial) fishing
- Commercial vessel transit (being continuous passage of a vessel through an area by the shortest direct route without any other activity being carried on)
- Commercial tourism (for existing permit holders only)
- Scientific research (for existing permit holders only).
Activities must be carried out in accordance to the conditions under the general approvals.
- General approval - Approval of Actions (PDF - 98KB) | (Word - 114KB)
- General approval - Approval of Commercial Tourism (PDF - 94KB) | (Word - 119KB) (for existing permit holders only)
- General approval - Approval of Scientific Research (PDF - 94KB) | (Word - 119KB) (for existing permit holders only)
For further information please contact the department.
Separate approvals apply for actions in the areas of former reserves and the former Coral Sea Conservation Zone.
Information on the transitional management arrangements in place is available on the individual reserve and Conservation Zone web pages:
- Former Coral Sea Conservation Zone
- Former Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve
- Former Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve
The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014-24 has been prepared in accordance with Section 368 of the EPBC Act and provides for consistency in the management of the reserves within the Network and across all the reserve networks. The management plan for the Coral Sea reserve will come into effect on 1 July 2014.
The Plan takes into account public comments received in relation to the Proclamation of the reserves as well as the responses received on the initial invitation to comment in November 2012. The draft Management Plan was available for public comment between 14 January and 14 February 2013.
The Plan provides the overarching framework for management of the Coral Sea Reserve for a period of 10 years from the Plan's commencement. It is consistent with the intent and direction for establishing the reserves. The Plan addresses the requirements of the EPBC Act and associated regulations and provides flexibility to allow management arrangements to be adapted as needed through the life of the Plan.
Commonwealth Marine Reserves Branch
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Edgar Waite Building
203 Channel Highway
Kingston TAS 7050
Phone: 1800 069 352