About Marine Parks

Our marine areas boast iconic species such as the southern right whale, bottlenose dolphin, leafy sea dragon, great white shark, Australian pelican, little penguin, Australian sea lion and giant cuttlefish.

Some of our marine life is found nowhere else on earth.

South Australia’s marine environment is under pressure from population growth, development and pollution. To help protect both our native species and the beautiful marine environment they call home, South Australia has created a system of marine parks as an investment in the state’s future.

Many South Australian marine parks include feeding and breeding sites for some of our best-loved marine animals as well as fish and shellfish nursery areas.

Some of these areas, such as seagrass meadows, reefs and mangroves, are incredibly fragile and will benefit from the extra protection provided by sanctuary zones.

These areas only take up six per cent of our waters and will not allow mining, trawling or fishing, giving marine animals a safe place to retreat and go about the business of breeding, caring for young and growing to adulthood.

Protecting nurseries and other critical habitats can only result in stronger, healthier fish populations in the long term, and what is good for fish is also good for the marine food chain and for both recreational and commercial fishing.

Marine parks have been carefully designed to avoid popular recreational fishing areas; and access to jetties, boat ramps and popular beaches won't be affected.

While there will be some unavoidable impact on commercial fishing, the South Australian Government has worked with the industry to help minimise the impact on this important South Australian industry.

The State Government has allowed two years for the restrictions on fishing to come into effect to enable people to prepare for the changes.

Fast facts

  • South Australia has 19 marine parks to help protect our marine life.
  • The parks have zones that enable different activities.
  • Sanctuary zones take up only 6 per cent of state waters and protect important marine life habitats. Fishing is not permitted in sanctuary zones.
  • Mining and trawling will not be permitted in sanctuary zones.
  • While fishing is not permitted in sanctuary zones, South Australians can still enjoy their favourite recreational activities such as swimming, boating and diving within these areas. In all other areas of the parks, fishing is allowed, along with other recreational activities.
  • Changes to fishing will be phased in over two years from 2012.

More information:


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