Former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)

The former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) has been included within the larger new Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve. Transitional management arrangements apply to the area of the former reserve until a management plan for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network is in place.

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 area within the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

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

Summary of former reserve

Original proclamation date 22 April 1998, now included within the new Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve
Area 19,395 km2
Types of zoning
  • Former Marine Mammal Protection Zone — IUCN Category VI —3,875 km2
  • Former Benthic Protection Zone — IUCN Category VI — 16,085 km2

NOTE: Area of overlap of above Zones - 565 km2

Management plan status Second plan expired 16 May 2012, transitional management arrangements apply

The area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) is in the Great Australian Bight stretching from 200 km west of Ceduna in South Australia following the coast to the Western Australian border. The area includes a 20 nautical miles wide strip extending to 200 nautical miles offshore. The area adjoins the South Australian Great Australian Bight Marine Park.

The area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) comprises two overlapping zones that form a T shape. The area that was the Marine Mammal Protection Zone of the former Marine Park extends from three nautical miles to approximately 12 nautical miles offshore. This Zone was intended primarily to provide for undisturbed calving for the southern right whale and protection of Australian sea-lion colonies.

The area that was the Benthic Protection Zone of the former Marine Park is a 20 nautical mile-wide that extends to the edge of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. This Zone was intended to protect a sample of the unique and diverse plants and animals that live on and are associated with the ocean floor of the Great Australian Bight.

Activities

The following table outlines activities allowed without approval (Tick), allowed with a permit or an approval (A), allowed with general approval in accordance with conditions (GA), or not allowed (Cross) in the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

Activities allowed in the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)
Activity Former Marine Mammal Protection Zone (MMPZ) Former Benthic Protection Zone (BPZ)
General Access
Non-commercial Vessel Access Tick * Tick #
Aircraft Access 1 Tick Tick
Commercial Activities
Fishing (including collecting) 2 GA* GA#
Filming and Photography A* A#
Tourism and Charters A* A#
Mining (including seismic survey) 3 Tick A
Other Commercial Activities A* A#
Vessel transit GA* GA#
Recreational Activities
Scuba diving & snorkelling Tick* Tick#
Fishing (including collecting) GA* GA#
Scientific research A A

* not allowed 01 May - 31 October

# not allowed in overlap with former MMPZ 01 May - 31 October

1Aircraft may be operated for commercial purposes in the airspace between the area of the former MMPZ and 3000 metres above mean sea level in accordance with EPBC Regulation 8.05 and other Commonwealth laws provided that use of an aircraft in the airspace over the former MMPZ does not interfere with whales.

2Demersal trawl is not allowed.

3Mining - as defined in s 355 of the EPBC Act - activities include oil and gas exploration and extraction, as well as geosequestration of carbon. Transit is allowed under general approval from the Director of National Parks. Conditions apply to the approval. Contact the department for more information.

Transitional management arrangements

Transitional management arrangements for the area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) will maintain the level of protection afforded to these areas by the previous reserve management arrangements.

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).

The 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. Below are the general approvals implementing transitional management arrangements relevant to the area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

Approvals

General approvals - activities allowed under general approvals

Note: the area corresponding to the former Marine Mammal Protection Zone is closed to all access from 1 May to 31 October inclusive each year under a determination made by the Director of National Parks under the EPBC Regulations.

Commercial fishing activities within the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)

Commercial fishing (excluding demeral trawling) is allowed in accordance with a general approval from the Director of National Parks for commercial fishing operators holding a current fishing concession issued under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 or applicable South Australian fisheries legislation authorising the operations in the area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

No registration or application for approval is required.

Approval of Commercial Fishing in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (PDF - 186.49 KB)
Approval of Commercial Fishing in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (DOCX - 495.63 KB)

Recreational (non-commercial) fishing activities in the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)

Recreational (non-commercial) fishing is allowed under general approval in the area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) where the activity is undertaken in accordance with State recreational fishing arrangements.

No registration or application for approval is required.

Approval of Non-Commercial Fishing in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (PDF - 181.57 KB)
Approval of Non-Commercial Fishing in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (DOCX - 496.61 KB)

Commercial vessel transit within the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)

Commercial vessel transit is allowed in the area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

No registration or application for approval is required.

Approval of Commercial Vessel Transit in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (PDF - 333.24 KB)
Approval of Commercial Vessel Transit in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (DOCX - 495.3 KB)

Approval of Commercial Activities, Scientific Research and Structures and Works within the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters)

In the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) the following activities are allowed to be undertaken by existing approval holders:

  • 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 area of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) please contact the department.

Approval of commercial activities, scientific research and structures and works in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (PDF - 182.23 KB)
Approval of commercial activities, scientific research and structures and works in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) (DOCX - 487.7 KB)

Determinations

The Director of National Parks has made determinations in relation to specific activities and how they are to be undertaken within the reserve.

Any other activities

Recreational activities, including scuba diving and snorkelling, are allowed in the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

An approval or permit may be required for some activities. For example, individual approval is required for scientific research within the former reserve. For further information please contact the department.

Individual approval is also required to conduct any mining activities (except for vessel transit operations) in the area of the Benthic Protection Zone of the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters).

A proposed mining operation may also be subject to the referral, assessment and approval provisions of Chapter 4 of the EPBC Act (Environment assessment process).

Management plan

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MARINE USERS

Transitional arrangements

Until management plans come 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.

Approvals

General approval - transitional management arrangements

The Director of National Parks has issued a general approval to implement the transitional management arrangements for all new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserve estate in the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network.

Activities must be carried out in accordance to the conditions under the general approval.

Management plan

A management plan for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network will be developed in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This 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. The management plan will address key aspects of management over the life of the plan (10 years).

Former management plan

The second management plan for the former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) expired on 16 May 2012. Transitional management arrangements apply until a new management plan is in place for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network.

Contact

Commonwealth Marine Reserves Branch
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

Maps

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Map of the Former Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters) - Click to enlarge
 

Download reserve map