Have Your Say: The Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan Review

25 January 2019


The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Marine Parks (Great Sandy) Zoning Plan 2017 (the Zoning Plan). The Zoning Plan, originally established in 2006, provides a management framework that aims to balance conservation and sustainable use within the Great Sandy Marine Park (GSMP).

Submissions are welcomed. The closing date for submissions is 25 February 2019.

To assist the process, DES has prepared a discussion paper available on the Queensland Government’s Marine Parks website and the Get Involved website. A copy of the survey is included as the last 8 pages of the discussion paper.

About the Great Sandy Marine Park

The Great Sandy Marine Park covers about 6,000 square kilometres of tidal lands and waters stretching from Baffle Creek in the north to Double Island Point in the south. It includes Harvey Bay, Great Sandy Strait and tidal inlets and the waters off K’gari (Fraser Island) seaward to 3 nautical miles.

It comprises a complex landscape of:

  • mangroves
  • wetlands
  • sandbars
  • intertidal flats
  • seagrass beds.

Components of the marine park include internationally listed wetlands and World Heritage property listed sites. It is home to:

  • fish
  • crustaceans
  • dugongs
  • dolphins
  • marine turtles
  • and, at times, whales during their annual visit.

What will be the focus of Wildlife Queensland’s submission?  

1. Green zones

The percentage of marine ecosystems represented in green zones (no-take areas) needs scrutinising.

  • Advice arising from experts indicated that at least 10% of each marine habitat types should be encompassed in a green or no-take zone.
  • Granted in the initial Great Barrier Reef Zoning Plan, the no-take zone was about 5% but has since been increased to about 33%. This slightly exceeds the recommended percentage of 30% from participants in the Marine Theme of the 2014 6th IUCN Sydney World Park Congress. This is a rebuke to target 11 of the Aichi Conference of Parties under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity which was set at 10%.
  • It is obvious that green zones in the Great Sandy Marine Park do not meet this 10% target.

The percentage and area of green zones will be a focus for Wildlife Queensland.

2. Commercial netting for fish

The Great Sandy Marine Park contains some of Australia’s most important roosting and feeding sites for migratory wading birds, populations of marine turtles and dugongs and seagrass beds. Commercial netting for fish may impact particular sites and cause unintentional damage.

Certain sectors of the community are calling for commercial netting for fish to cease or at least be phased out in the Great Sandy Marine Park.

Wildlife Queensland would like an immediate stop on commercial netting for fish in the Great Sandy Marine Park. However, Wildlife Queensland supports the call to phase out commercial netting in the Great Sandy Marine Park provided such action does not jeopardise the enhancement of the marine environment in other areas.

3. Aquaculture

Back in 2010/2011, the then Queensland Fisheries together with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation developed an Aquaculture plan for the Great Sandy Region.

The establishment of aquaculture industries in the Great Sandy Region was being advocated.

  • The current Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan permits non-intensive aquaculture in certain zones.
  • Non-intensive aquaculture is where structures are permitted to be placed in certain zones but no feeding of the product contained within the structure is permitted.
  • The Queensland Government in 2016 recognised marine non-intensive aquaculture as having a low environmental impact which may be compatible with general use, habitat protection and conservation of marine park zones.

Wildlife Queensland would prefer that no aquaculture was permitted in Great Sandy Marine Park. While with non-intensive aquaculture no feeding is permitted there is still faecal matter produced, there is the risk of escapes and the potential for disease proliferation.

The Great Sandy Marine Park is a significant part of various First Nation peoples living cultural landscapes. Wildlife Queensland has no right to speak on behalf of those people but we have every right to urge DES to listen to their aspirations and act appropriately.

Have your say!

Wildlife Queensland encourages members and supporters to complete the Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan Opportunities Survey.

  • The survey contains 40 questions with question 41 providing the opportunity to comment on any issue you may wish to raise on enhancing the management of this marine park.
  • The first 10 questions address broad management issues on which an opinion is sought.
  • The remaining questions call for your view on specific topics.

There is no obligation to answer every question but the Department has indicated that no response will be taken as though you have no opinion on that issue or topic.

All answers to the survey questions will be treated anonymously.

How do I complete the survey?

The survey can be completed in one of two ways:

  1. online at the Queensland Government’s Get Involved website or
  2. by printing the survey which is located on the last 8 pages of Great Sandy Marine Park Discussion paper and submitting to:

email:  marine.policy@des.qld.gov.au 


Great Sandy Marine Park management review
Department of Environment and Science
PO Box 15187, City East

Alternatively, you can simply provide your own comments and forward them to the above address. Don’t forget to include your name and address if you are seeking any response to matters raised.

If you elect to use the post, make sure your comments or survey are posted by Thursday, 21 February or earlier, depending on your location, to ensure compliance with the closing time and date.

Submissions close at 5.00 pm on Monday, 25 February 2019.

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