Australian Marine Parks

We use sound science to plan and manage one of the world’s most extensive and comprehensive ‘whole-of-ocean’ approaches to marine park networks.

Science has formed the basis for establishing Australian Marine Parks and will remain the key to successfully managing them.

Using and improving our knowledge and understanding of the natural, cultural, social and economic values of the parks and the pressures on those values is key to managing our parks effectively.

What is the program seeking to achieve?

Working in partnership with scientific agencies and researchers, the Marine science program contributes to key conservation and sustainable use outcomes by providing information to support evidence-based, adaptive management.

It does this by providing the necessary scientific knowledge and understanding of marine park values, pressures on those values and adequacy of responses for effective management. The program aims to:

  • increase understanding of marine park values, pressures and adequacy of responses
  • improve understanding of the effectiveness of park management in protecting park values
  • inform decision making and improve evidence-based decisions.

What actions will be undertaken nationally?

Actions under this program at the national level include:

  • establishing ecological, social and economic baselines to support evidence-based decision making and adaptive management
  • developing an Australian Marine Parks science strategy to:
    • prioritise and encourage research and monitoring of park values, pressures and management effectiveness
    • foster science communication and knowledge uptake
  • encouraging and facilitating knowledge brokering to support collaboration and partnerships with:
    • the science community
    • private enterprise
    • citizen science organisations
    • other Australian, state and territory agencies
  • establishing an authorisation system for scientific research and monitoring by third parties, and encouraging data to be made publicly available through the appropriate information portals such as the Australian Ocean Data Network
  • collaborating with the science community (including through the National Marine Science Committee and the National Environmental Science Program) and other marine park users to assist in improving the understanding of marine park values, pressures and management effectiveness
  • collaborating with the science community and other government agencies to increase the use of innovative and effective technology and systems including sensor technology.

What actions will be undertaken regionally?

Actions at the regional level include:

  • monitoring social and economic uses in the marine park networks and Coral Sea Marine Park
  • monitoring the condition of important habitats and their vulnerability to climate change, such as reef systems at:
    • Ningaloo, Mermaid, Kimberley, Ashmore and Cartier marine parks
    • Osprey, Coringa Herald and Lihou reefs
  • monitoring the impact of invasive species on marine park values and the effectiveness of management (for example, tropical fire ant impacts on seabirds and turtles at Ashmore Reef Marine Park, and the effectiveness of management such as baiting)
  • collaborating with other Australian, state and territory government agencies, regional bodies and boards, marine park users and the science sector, to support long-term monitoring. For example, monitoring coral reefs, protected species, and the effects of fishing on marine parks
  • investigating opportunities to extend citizen science programs.

How will the program be implemented?

Parks Australia is managing the program across the 58 Australian Marine Parks to ensure we achieve outcomes and benefits for all Australians.

In each marine park network and the Coral Sea Marine Park, the advisory committee or forum is providing advice to Parks Australia on which actions are most important, how they should be implemented, and where they should be undertaken.