Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review

The Australian Government has announced a Marine Reserves Review to restore confidence in the Commonwealth marine reserve planning process.

The Marine Reserves Review will ensure the management of Australia’s Commonwealth marine reserve network is based on scientific rigor and genuine consultation with communities and industries.

The Marine Reserves Review has two components:

- the appointment of an expert scientific panel to look closely at the science supporting the current marine reserves

- the establishment of bioregional advisory panels to improve consultation with stakeholders.

New management plans

Following the review,  the Australian Government will deliver new management plans for the Commonwealth marine reserves - plans that protect marine ecosystems and recognise the important role played by many industries, communities and recreational fishers in ensuring our oceans remain healthy.

These new plans will replace the management plans that were scheduled to come into effect in July 2014, which have now been set aside.

As part of the review, there will be genuine consultation with fishers and other stakeholders. The new management plans will put in place arrangements to ensure there is ongoing engagement in reserve management and a pathway to effectively advise the Government.

Until the new management plans come into effect, there are no on the water changes. Whatever rules were in place before November 2012, continue to apply. Users such as recreational fishers can access these areas as usual.

Rules for pre-existing marine reserves

For the 25 reserves, which predated last year’s extension of the Commonwealth marine reserve network (including those in the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network), there are also no changes. Users can continue to operate in these areas under their previous approval or permit. No additional administrative requirements apply.

Time frame

The members of the Bioregional Advisory Panels and the Scientific Review and their terms of reference will be announced early in 2014.

Fisheries Adjustment Assistance Package

The Fisheries Adjustment Assistance Package has been placed on hold while the review and management planning processes are undertaken.

Find out more

Read the fact sheet- Marine Reserves Update

Marine Reserves Update - December 2013 (DOCX - 216.45 KB) ​| (PDF - 136.73 KB)


Read the media release