A NSW Government website - NSW Marine Estate

Instagram NSW Marine Estate

Improved marine protected area planning and management

Published 7 February 2024 Improving the management of our NSW marine parks and aquatic reserves.
content image Sea tulips on rocky reef, North Harbour Aquatic Reserve. Credit: John Turnbull.


There are six marine parks and twelve aquatic reserves in NSW, covering over 30% of the NSW marine estate.

Together these form a network of marine protected areas.

Marine parks and aquatic reserves aim to conserve marine biodiversity while at the same time providing for many other activities, such as diving, boating, fishing and tourism.

Why is this project important?

This project aims to manage these special areas more effectively and efficiently.

This includes improving consistency across the network, together with tailored local solutions where required.

The Draft Management Plan for the Network of Mainland Marine Parks has been developed with input from the community.

This plan aims to identify the best way to manage key threats to the environmental, social, economic and cultural values of mainland marine parks.

What else are we doing?

We are preparing a separate management plan for Lord Howe Island Marine Park.

This is due to its geographic isolation, its many unique values and it being the only NSW marine park within a World Heritage site.

We are collating information on the environmental values of aquatic reserves, and threats to these values, so we can identify how best to manage the threats in partnership with stakeholders and the community.

What have we achieved so far?

Since its inception in 2018, we have:

  • prepared a draft management plan for the network of mainland marine parks with local marine park advisory committees, agencies and the wider community
  • commenced preparatory work for management planning for the Lord Howe Island Marine Park
  • collated information on the environmental values of aquatic reserves and the threats to these values
  • improved community engagement for aquatic reserves.

A map of the marine parks and aquatic reserves of NSW is on this page.

You can find out more about the Marine protected areas (marine parks and aquatic reserves) of NSW on the DPI Fisheries webpage.


Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries


    • Marine park advisory committees, agencies and the community have been developing the draft management plan for marine parks and guiding preparatory work for management planning for Lord Howe Island Marine Park.
    • Marine Park Advisory Committees also provide advice, local knowledge and suggestions for management of marine parks.
    • Many other organisations contribute to the day-to-day management of marine protected areas including NSW Department of Planning and Environment–Water, NSW Department of Planning and Environment–Crown Lands, Aboriginal Affairs NSW, Heritage NSW, Local Land Services, NSW Environment Protection Authority, NSW Food Authority, Port Authority of NSW, Destination NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the federal agency the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water which includes Parks Australia.
    • Local councils managing land next to marine protected areas are critical to the successful management of these areas.
    • Aboriginal communities provide their local knowledge and expertise of land and sea country management as well as Aboriginal cultural values.
    • Local communities and the wider community through submissions and involvement in local programs.

More information

Stay up-to-date with our Marine Estate Newsletter

Read privacy policy