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Marine parks are like national parks, but instead of protecting scenic landscapes or biologically important areas of land, marine parks protect scenic and biologically important areas of ocean and coastline (usually to high water mark) including:

  • inshore waters
  • offshore waters
  • reefs
  • rocky shores
  • mangroves
  • mudflats
  • estuaries
  • beaches
  • islands and
  • all marine plants and animals within these habitats.

What are Marine Parks

Instead of fences, marine parks have floating marker buoys that indicate the position of sanctuary (no take) zones (where people can’t fish or collect other marine animals or plants) and shore based zone markers so people in boats can see where the boundaries of the park are.

There are 17 marine parks in Western Australia managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife: Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park, Ngari Capes Marine Park, Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Swan Estuary Marine Park, Marmion Marine Park, Jurien Bay Marine Park, Shark Bay Marine Park, Ningaloo Marine Park, Barrow Island Marine Park, Montebello Islands Marine Park, Rowley Shoals Marine Park, Lalang-garram / Camden Sound Marine Park, Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park, Yawuru Nagulagun / Roebuck Bay Marine Park, Lalang-garram / Horizontal Falls Marine Park, North Lalang-garram Marine Park and the North Kimberley Marine Park.

There are also two other types of marine conservation reserve in Western Australia. Marine nature reserves are created for conservation and scientific research. Although low-impact tourism may be permitted, they are ‘look but don’t take’ areas given the highest level of environmental protection. Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve at Shark Bay is the only marine nature reserve in WA.

Marine management areas provide an integrated management structure over areas that have both high conservation value and intensive multiple use. There are two marine management areas in WA (at the Muiron Islands and Barrow Island).