North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network - Overview


Transitional arrangements

Until a management plan comes 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.


Overview of the North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network
Network area 157 483 km2
Depth range 0 - 500 m
Number of reserves 8 reserves (ranging in size from 1399 to 71 483 km2)
Types of zoning
  • Marine National Park Zone (IUCN Category II) - 16 977 km2 or 10.78% of the network
  • Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI) - 128 946 km2 or 81.88% of the network
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI) - 11 560 km2 or 7.34% of the network
Hawksbill turtle

Hawksbill turtle - the North Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network includes important nesting and resting area for threatened marine turtle species

Key conservation values

  • Important nesting and resting area for threatened marine turtle species including flatback, hawksbill, green and olive ridley turtles
  • Important foraging area for breeding colonies of migratory seabirds
  • Important foraging area for large aggregations of dugongs
  • Nine key ecological features of the North marine region including submerged coral reefs, the Gulf of Carpentaria basin, and the carbonate banks, terraces and pinnacles of the Timor Sea are represented in the network
  • Four provincial bioregions, 14 meso-scale bioregions, 22 depth ranges within provincial bioregions, and 15 seafloor types are represented in the network.