Temperate East 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 Temperate East Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network
Network area 383 352 km2
Depth range

<15 – 6000 m

Number of reserves 8 reserves (ranging in size from 4 to 188 443 km2)
Giant Australian cuttlefish- Jervis Bay

Giant Australian cuttlefish, Jervis Bay

Types of zoning
  • Marine National Park Zone (IUCN Category II) - 60 264 km2 (15.72% of network)
  • Recreational Use Zone (IUCN Category IV) - 1 170 km2 (0.31% of network)
  • Habitat Protection Zone (IUCN Category IV) - 133 776 km2 (34.90% of network)
  • Habitat Protection Zone (Lord Howe) (IUCN Category IV) - 5 136 km2 (1.34% of network)
  • Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI) - 180 645 km2 (47.12% of network)
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI) - 2 361 km2 (0.62% of network)

Key conservation values

  • Important habitat for the critically endangered east coast population of grey nurse sharks.
  • Important offshore reef habitat at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island that support the threatened black cod.
  • Significant seamount ridges that run parallel to the coast and support hundreds of species, including some previously unknown to science. The seamounts rise from seafloor depths of approximately 4800 metres to up to 130 metres from the surface—more than twice the height of Mt Kosciuszko—and are home to deepwater shark species that are only found in Australia.
  • The Temperate East network provides additional protection to a number of species listed as endangered or vulnerable under Commonwealth legislation or international agreements, including the white shark, Bleekers devil fish, the little tern and other seabirds.
  • Unique subtropical corals considered the southernmost coral reefs in the world.
  • Seven Key ecological features including shelf rocky reefs, Tasmantid and Lord Howe seamount chains, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, Norfolk Ridge, canyons on the eastern continental slope, and the Tasman Front.
  • Seven provincial bioregions, three meso-scale bioregions, 73 depth ranges within provincial bioregions, and 15 seafloor types are represented in the network.