North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network


The North marine region is home to a diverse array of species that depend on the warm waters and the wide range of muddy, sandy, and rocky habitats, including corals, sponges, sea cucumbers, sea squirts and many different types of sharks and tropical fish.

The region also supports a number of protected species - such as sawfish, dugong, marine turtles and seabirds.


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.

Click on the map or select a reserve from the list below

Map of the North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network

Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine ReserveArafura Commonwealth Marine ReserveArnhem Commonwealth Marine ReserveWessel Commonwealth Marine ReserveWest Cape York Commonwealth Marine ReserveGulf of Carpentaria Commonwealth Marine ReserveLimmen Commonwealth Marine ReserveJoseph Bonaparte Gulf Commonwealth Marine Reserve


The North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network includes 8 Commonwealth Marine Reserves. The reserves are:

The reserves will be managed for the primary purpose of conserving the biodiversity found in them, while also allowing for the sustainable use of natural resources in some areas. The reserves include a vast range of ecosystems, habitats and biological communities representative of the North Marine Region. The reserves will help ensure our marine environment remains healthy and is more resilient to the effects of climate change and other pressures.

The North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network will protect important breeding and feeding habitats for protected species including a number of marine turtles, as well as migratory birds of international significance such as the common noddy, bridled tern, roseate tern, and the crested tern. A number of key ecological features as well as habitats for other species such as dugongs, whales, dolphins, sea snakes and sharks are included in the reserves network.