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NSW marine parks are declared and managed in accordance with the Marine Parks Act 1997 which is joint responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Environment.

Since 1998 six multiple use marine parks have been established, covering approximately one-third of NSW state waters or 345,000 hectares:

  • Batemans Marine Park
  • Cape Byron Marine Park 
  • Jervis Bay Marine Park 
  • Lord Howe Island Marine Park
  • Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park
  • Solitary Islands Marine Park

Each marine park has a zoning plan which aims to allow for multiple uses while conserving the range of marine life, ecosystems and habitats.  The zones are:

  • Sanctuary zones provide the highest level of protection to marine biodiversity and ecological processes and allow recreational, educational, scientific research and other activities that do involve harming any animal or plant or causing any damage to or interference with natural or cultural features or any habitat.
  • Habitat protection zones provide for a high level of protection to marine biodiversity and ecological processes and provide opportunities for recreational and commercial activities (including fishing), scientific research, education activities and other activities, so long as they are ecologically sustainable and do not have a significant impact on any fish population or on any other animals, plants or habitats.
  • General use zones provide protection to marine biodiversity and ecological processes and provide opportunities for recreational and commercial activities (including fishing), scientific research, educational activities and other activities so long as they are ecologically sustainable.
  • Special purpose zones provide for the management of biological diversity, habitat, ecological processes and natural and cultural features in the zone, where phenomena, sites or items in the zone warrant special management and to cater for special facilities and features in the zones such as slipways, breakwaters, berthing facilities and shipwrecks.

The NSW Government decided to form a Marine Parks Independent Scientific Panel to conduct an Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks in NSW. The Panel included a chair and five members who are experts known for their achievements in fisheries science, marine biodiversity conservation, and social and economic evaluation.

The Panel were supported by an independent Secretariat.

 

 

 

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