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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Management of marine protected areas

Marine protected areas are one of many tools that may be used alongside fisheries management arrangements to ensure the sustainable use of aquatic resources. Marine protected areas exist in both State and Commonwealth waters off the Western Australian coast and each area has specific management arrangements.

Different types of marine protected areas exist in Western Australian State waters (to three nautical miles off the coast) including:

  • State marine reserves (see below);

  • Reef Protected Areas such as at Point Samson; and
  • areas closed to fishing for a particular reason, for example to address aquatic resource sharing issues or to protect fish nursery areas.

A number of  offshore Australian Marine Parks are also in place in Commonwealth waters (between three and 200 nautical miles off the coast of WA) under Commonwealth legislation (see below).

State marine reserves

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions creates and manages all state marine reserves under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984. Each marine reserve has a specific management plan which describes the permitted uses within the area, for example where fishing may not be permitted.

The majority of marine reserves in WA state waters are marine parks, however there are also marine management areas (which allow for mining and exploration) and marine nature reserves (within which no fishing is permitted).  

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development manages fishing and aquaculture inside marine reserves. We work collaboratively with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to manage marine reserves by providing education on permitted uses within the reserves, ensuring compliance with fishing rules, and participating in research and monitoring programs to assist future marine reserve management.

We also administer the marine reserve compensation process on behalf of the Minister for Fisheries, in accordance with the Fishing and Related Industries Compensation (Marine Reserves) Act 1997.

Explore this interactive map or click on the links below the map for more information about management of the State’s marine reserves.

West Coast Bioregion

South Coast Bioregion

Gascoyne Coast Bioregion

North Coast Bioregion

Australian Marine Parks

In Western Australia, a number of offshore marine parks are in place which have been created and are managed by Parks Australia under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

We actively work with Parks Australia on the collaborative management of Australian Marine Parks to progress compliance, education and research initiatives. See Parks Australia’s website for information on recreational fishing in Australian Marine Parks.

Recreational fishing

When fishing in marine protected areas, it is important to know your zones and where you can and can’t fish. For more information, see recreational fishing in marine protected areas. ​

Last modified: 7/10/2020 12:53 PM

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