Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve



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.

The new Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve covers an area of more than 45 000 km2 and encompasses the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters). A management plan will be prepared for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network and will cover all 14 new reserves.

Overview of the Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve
Area 45 926 km2
Depth range <15-6000 m (approx.)
Types of zoning
  • Marine National Park Zone IUCN Category II-7728 km2
  • Multiple Use Zone IUCN Category VI-22 682 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone - IUCN Category VI-15 516 km2

Major conservation values

  • Globally important seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale
  • Important foraging areas for the:
    • threatened Australian sea lion
    • threatened white shark
    • migratory sperm whales
    • migratory short-tailed shearwater
  • Examples of the western ecosystems of the Great Australian Bight Shelf Transition and the easternmost ecosystems of the Southern Province.
  • Three key ecological feature:
    • ancient coastline 90-120m (high productivity)
    • benthic invertebrate communities of the eastern Great Australian Bight (communities with high species diversity)
    • areas important for small pelagic fish (species group with an important ecological role)