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Marine Protected Areas

Whilst terrestrial protected areas such as National Parks have been established for over 100 years, the idea of underwater parks is relatively new. In South Australia there are two types of marine protected areas - Aquatic reserves and marine parks. Aquatic reserves are created under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 (SA) and marine parks are created under the Marine Parks Act 2007 (SA). Of the two, marine parks have the greater status and level of protection. There are no specific criteria for the selection of aquatic reserves.

The Marine Parks Act 2007 (SA) provides for a system of marine parks for the State and is designed to protect and conserve marine biological diversity and habitats by providing a proper system for the management of marine parks.

The boundaries of South Australia’s marine parks are proclaimed pursuant to section 10 of the Marine Parks Act 2007 (SA) in the Marine Parks Proclamation 2009 (SA). On 29 November 2012 three of South Australia's 19 marine parks had further areas added to them and each park had a new management plan released. The maps and management plans for each of the parks are available through the Find a Park page on the South Australian Department for Environment and Water website (click here).

Each park contains various zones. There are currently four types of zones namely general managed use, habitat protection, sanctuary and restricted access [Marine Parks Act 2007 (SA) s 4]. Each zone varies in the level of protection given to marine biodiversity.

Whilst the status of “marine park” offers a level of protection for the natural values of that park, it is important to note that commercial exploitation is not necessarily excluded. This includes new uses as well as pre-existing rights. The management regime for marine parks is similar to that for terrestrial parks in that plans of management are adopted which guide management decision-making. The management planning process includes opportunities for public comment.

Marine parks came into operation on 1 October 2014. See more at:

Marine Protected Areas  :  Last Revised: Tue Oct 28th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.