Australian marine protected areas

Alana Grech, Graham J. Edgar, Peter Fairweather, Robert L. Pressey, Trevor J. Ward

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Marine protected areas (MPAs) are sites in the ocean and coastal sea that are dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity, fisheries, ecosystem services and cultural values. MPAs range from small, highly protected marine reserves through to large, multiple-use marine parks, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park of Queensland, Australia. This chapter identifies the major policy events and phases of MPA development in Australia, and explores the role and effectiveness of MPAs in conserving Australia’s marine environment. The governance of Australian MPAs is complex; the responsibility for their declaration and management is shared between the Australian (Commonwealth), State and Territory Governments. Progress in the declaration and management of MPAs is not uniform across Australia, with some jurisdictions performing better than others. Australia is considered a world leader in the science and implementation of MPAs. However, there are serious weaknesses in the design of MPAs in Commonwealth waters due to the locating of new MPAs where they are least controversial and least costly. Considerable further effort is needed to create an effective national programme for delivering biodiversity conservation in Australia waters. This is particularly important because Australia’s oceans face an unprecedented set of pressures from accelerating climate change and coastal development. Introduction Australia is responsible for one of the largest marine jurisdictions in the world, covering an area of more than 13.86 million km2. This domain stretches across about 45° of latitude from the tropical waters of the north to the sub-Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean, and encompasses seabed, open ocean and shoreline ecosystems, and near-shore marine and estuarine waters. The marine environment is rich in biodiversity. Over 33000 identified marine species live in Australian waters, including a large number of endemics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAustral ark
    Subtitle of host publicationthe state of wildlife in Australia and New Zealand
    EditorsAdam Stow, Norman Maclean, Gregory I. Holwell
    Place of PublicationCambridge, UK
    PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781139519960
    ISBN (Print)9781107033542
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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