Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve - Management

Consistent with the commitment for a more competitive and sustainable fisheries sector, the Australian Government will review the management plans for the Commonwealth marine reserves announced in November 2012.

The Government will be appointing a scientific review panel and bioregional advisory panels to provide advice on future marine reserve management arrangements.

Transitional management arrangements

Transitional management arrangements have been implemented for the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve to cover the period until a statutory management plan comes into effect. 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.

Approvals for activities within new areas

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MARINE USERS

Transitional arrangements

Until a management plan comes into effect transitional arrangements apply.

  • Under the transitional arrangements, there are NO CHANGES ON THE WATER for users of new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserves estate.
  • NOTE: There are no changes to management arrangements in the marine reserves that existed prior to the establishment of the new reserves, that is, the same restrictions on activities will continue to apply even where those reserves have been incorporated into new reserves.

General approvals

The Director of National Parks has issued two general approvals for all new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserve estate in the Coral Sea. These general approvals apply to the area of the former Coral Sea Conservation Zone and maintain the level of protection afforded to the area by 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 approval for the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve provides 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)

The general approval for Commercial Activities, Scientific Research and Structures and Works in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve allows existing approval holders to undertake the following activities:

  • Commercial tourism
  • Commercial media activities
  • Commercial image capture
  • Scientific research
  • Erecting structures, carrying out works and carrying on an excavation

No registration or application is required for existing approval holders. Existing approval holders must carry out activities in accordance with the conditions of the general approval. If you do not have an existing approval but wish to undertake one of these activities in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve please contact the department.

Activities must be carried out in accordance with the conditions of the general approvals.

General approval - Approval of Actions (PDF - 29.12 KB)
General approval - Approval of Actions (DOCX - 199.77 KB)

General approval – Approval of Commercial Activities, Scientific Research and Structures and Works (PDF - 30.15 KB) (for existing permit/approval holders only)
General approval - Approval of Commercial Activities, Scientific Research and Structures and Works (DOCX - 203.38 KB) (for existing permit/approval holders only)

For further information please contact the department.

Approvals for activities within former reserves and the former Conservation Zone

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MARINE USERS

Transitional arrangements

Until a new management plan comes into effect there will be no changes to management arrangements for the former Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve; Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve or the now-revoked Coral Sea Conservation Zone.

  • Transitional arrangements involve NO CHANGE ON THE WATER for marine users.
  • If you hold an existing approval to undertake activities you are able to continue to operate under the terms of your existing approval.
  • No additional administrative requirements apply.

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:

Contact

Parks Australia
Department of the Environment
Edgar Waite Building
203 Channel Highway
Kingston TAS 7050
or
Email: marinereserves@environment.gov.au
Phone: 1800 069 352