South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network
|Legend||- Allowed in zone||- Not allowed in zone|
|R - Registration under an approval from the Director of National Parks is required before any commercial fishing vessel is allowed in the zones. Conditions apply to the approval. Contact the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for more information.|
|I - 'Individual approval' from the Director of National Parks is required. Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis. Contact the department for more information.|
|Activity||Multiple use zone||Special purpose zone||Recreational
|Benthic sanctuary zone||Sanctuary zone|
|Recreational fishing *||
|Scuba diving and snorkelling|
|Research and monitoring||I||I||I||I||I|
|Tourism - including dive/snorkel tours, nature watching||I||I||I||I||I|
|Mining - Seismic survey #|
|Mining - Transit #|
|Mining - All other #||I||I|
|Transiting in a commercial fishing vessel||R||R||R||R||R|
|Commercial fishing (except fishing activities listed below)||R|
|Pelagic fishing 1||R||R|
|Gillnetting (below 183m)|
|1. Pelagic fishing in this context is defined as fishing in the area from the sea surface to 500 metres below sea level.|
|* Recreational fishing is allowed under general approval from the Director of National Parks. Requires adherence to relevant State recreational fishing arrangements. No registration or application is required.|
|# Mining - as defined in s 355 of the Act - activities include oil and gas exploration and extraction, as well as geosequestration of carbon. Seismic survey and transit is allowed under general approval from the Director of National Parks. Conditions apply to the approval. Other mining activities are permitted in Multiple Use and Special Purpose Zones on a case by case assessment. Contact the department for more information.|
The activities allowed in the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network are based on a system of zones which permit and restrict certain activities. Five different zones are used in the network - 42% of the total area is sanctuary zone managed primarily for scientific research, monitoring and where appropriate, passive uses. 36% of the network is special purpose zone closed to commercial fishing. 21% of the network is classified multiple use where low-impact fishing methods and other activities are permitted. The remaining area is made up of two specialised zones called the benthic sanctuary zone and the recreational use zone. All Commonwealth marine reserves are managed primarily for biodiversity conservation.
Below is a list of the different kinds of zones and what is permitted within them.
Sanctuary Zone (IUCN Ia) - No commercial or recreational fishing or mining activities are permitted. The area can only be used for scientific research and passive recreational activities. Vessel transit is allowed.
Benthic Sanctuary Zone (IUCN Ia) - Some commercial and recreational fishing is permitted. However no fishing or other extractive use in the area from 500 metres below sea level to 100 metres beneath the seabed is allowed.
Recreational Use Zone (IUCN II) - This zone allows for recreational and charter fishing if carried out in accordance with the relevant State fishing arrangements. It prohibits commercial fishing and mining activities.
Special Purpose Zone (IUCN VI) - Recreational fishing and mining activities are permitted. Charter fishing may be permitted providing the operator has applied for an approval from the Director of National Parks. Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis. Applications can be obtained by contacting the department. No commercial fishing is allowed in this zone.
Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI) - Recreational fishing and mining activities are allowed. Some forms of commercial fishing, excluding demersal trawl, Danish seine, gill netting (below 183m) and scallop dredge, are allowed providing the operator has registered under the approval from the Director of National Parks and abides by the conditions of the approval. Registration forms can be obtained from the department.
Following the proclamation of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves and while the Management Plan is being prepared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), an approvals system will apply to all commercial and some recreational activities in the Reserve Network. This is necessary to allow for continued activity within the reserves, where that activity is permitted, during the period while no management plan is in force.
The 'approvals system' will be further considered in consultation with stakeholders during the development of the management plan with a view to this approach being continued under the management plan. It is expected that the management planning process will take 12 months to complete.
The activities allowed in the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network are based on a system of zones that allow or prohibit certain activities.
An approval is a legal instrument that allows identified activities to occur in a marine reserve in the absence of a management plan for that reserve. The approval is given by the Director of National Parks, or his delegate, who has the statutory responsibility for the management of all Commonwealth reserves.
A range of activities that may be carried on in Commonwealth reserves are covered by provisions of the EPBC Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 under the Act as outlined below:
- certain activities, including commercial operations, taking native species (including fish) and mining operations must generally be carried on in accordance with a management plan for a reserve (sections 354, 354A, 355 and 355A). A management plan sets out how a Commonwealth reserve will be managed, what activities will be allowed within the reserve, and how they must be carried on. A management plan has effect for up to 10 years;
- amendments to the EPBC Act (section 359B) that commenced in February 2007 enables the Director of National Parks to approve actions covered by sections 354 and 354A of the Act and mining operations when a management plan (for a reserve) is not in operation; and
- a number of other activities - such as use of vessels, waste disposal and fishing - are subject to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 and may require a permit (unless approved by a management plan) or can be controlled by the Director of National Parks through determinations, prohibitions, or restrictions made under the Regulations.