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Five marine park zones and eight designated areas

Five zones

Grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) congregate at Wolf Rock.

Grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) congregate at Wolf Rock.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages the Great Sandy Marine Park through the Marine Parks (Great Sandy) Zoning Plan 2017. Great Sandy Marine Park is a State marine park. The zoning plan identifies different zones within the marine park, states the objectives for each zone and identifies the level of protection for the zone. The zoning plan lists the activities which can occur ‘as of right’, those that have entry and use provisions and those for which a permit is required.

Marine national park zones

Marine national park zones afford the greatest level of protection. They are identified on the zoning map as green. ‘Green zones’ are essentially ‘look but don't take’ zones, in which activities such as fishing and collecting are prohibited. No-take activities such as diving and photography are allowed.

Buffer zone

Buffer zones have the same entry and use provisions as marine national park zones, but differ in that trolling for pelagic species is permitted. Buffer zones are identified on the zoning map as olive-green. Only one buffer zone exists in the Great Sandy Marine Park and this is around the marine national park zone at Wolf Rock.

Conservation park zone

Conservation park zones, identified on the zoning map as yellow, protect significant marine habitats. Commercial netting, trawling and harvest fishing are all prohibited in these zones. Restrictions apply to most other activities conducted in this zone.

Line fishing is limited to one line or rod and one hook or lure per person. When trolling, a maximum of three lines or rods with a combined total of six hooks can be used per person. When crabbing is permitted, only four catch devices may be used per person.

Conservation park zones aim to provide a high level of protection for marine landscapes. Within the Great Sandy designated area some provisions regarding commercial and recreational fishing are different from those in the rest of the conservation park zone.

Habitat protection zone

Habitat protection zones are identified in the zoning map as dark blue. They are located over areas that contain sensitive habitats. Most activities are permitted in the habitat protection zones, but trawling is prohibited.

General use zone

The light blue or general use zones aim to provide for conservation while providing opportunities for reasonable use. Most activities are permitted in the zone, but some require a permit.

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Eight designated areas

Designated areas allow for management of conservation issues that occur within specific areas or which occur seasonally. The purpose and provisions of a designated area are in addition to, and equally as important as, the purpose and provisions of the zone for that area.

Eight designated areas are managed within Great Sandy Marine Park.

Three designated areas provide for the conservation of the Mon Repos marine turtle rookery through the protection of foreshore, inshore and near shore areas.

Mon Repos area

This zone covers the area of beach and inshore habitat where large numbers of turtles nest. The objectives of the Mon Repos area are to protect turtles and their habitat and to minimise harm or distress caused to turtles by human activities or domestic animals. QPWS manages turtle watching through ticketed beach access.

Foreshore entry and use provisions apply from 15 October to 30 April the following year:

  • Only authorised vehicles can access the foreshore, and only for monitoring purposes.
  • Domestic animals must not be brought into or allowed to enter the designated area.
  • Torches must be small and not more than three volts. It is an offence to project a light that changes the ambient light horizons in the area, sufficient to disturb marine turtles.
  • Directions given by rangers must be followed.

Turtle protection area

The turtle protection area aims to protect marine turtles and their habitat and minimise human impacts including trawling. Trawling is prohibited in the designated area from 1 November each year to 31 January the following year.

Turtle monitoring area

The turtle monitoring area protects marine turtles and their habitat. It provides a designated area for monitoring human activities, including trawling, which may impact on marine turtles, and provides for response to risks to marine turtles.

Great Sandy designated area

The Great Sandy designated area incorporates areas of conservation park zone in Baffle Creek, the Elliott, Burrum and Mary Rivers, Great Sandy Strait and Tin Can Bay Inlet. It was established to maintain important existing fisheries. In the Great Sandy designated area licensed commercial net, yabby and bloodworm fisheries can continue. Recreational fishers are permitted to use three lines or rods per person with a combined total of six hooks when fishing. When fishing outside this designated area, fishers must comply with the restrictions for the zone they are in.

Go slow areas

Go slow designated areas are provided throughout the marine park. They aim to protect turtles and dugongs from injury, disturbance or death, especially in critical feeding and resting areas.

When a vessel is operating within go slow areas, it must be ‘off the plane’ (i.e. at a reduced speed) unless within navigational channels or defined transit lanes. Keeping vessels off the plane has proven to be an effective method of reducing the frequency of injuries and death to marine wildlife from boat strike.

Grey nurse shark designated area

The grey nurse shark designated area aims to protect the grey nurse shark population and its habitat by minimising harm or distress caused by diving or other human activities. Wolf Rock, near Rainbow Beach, is one of five key sites identified for the conservation of grey nurse sharks in south-east Queensland. The designated area extends 1.5 km around Wolf Rock. In this area, activities are highly regulated and restrictions relating to the interference of grey nurse sharks and their habitat apply.

Shorebird roosting and feeding area

Shorebirds are threatened by disturbance, habitat loss and degradation, and from introduced pests and predation. The purpose of the shorebird roosting and feeding area is to protect shorebirds, particularly migratory shorebirds and their habitat and to minimise harm and disturbance caused by human activities and domestic animals.

  • Dogs are prohibited from entering these areas unless they are controlled and restrained in a way that prevents the dog from causing excessive disturbance to shorebirds.
  • Restrictions apply to operating vehicles, vessels and aircraft in the area. A person must not cause excessive disturbance to or drive/fly through a group of feeding or roosting shorebirds.

Fish trap area

The objective for each fish trap area is to protect important Indigenous sites from damage caused by anchors and from the impact of excavating, modifying or removing material in these areas. Restrictions relate to anchoring and conducting any activity that may impact on the integrity and cultural values of the area.

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Last updated
4 September 2017