• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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Have a say on the future of your seas

The Australian public are custodians of Australia’s territorial waters, these extend from 5.5km to 200 kilometres off-shore from all the lands we claim. These waters are the commons that we all own and have a responsibility to look after. The Commonwealth Government is now deciding what parts of your waters it will protect to establish the promised Comprehensive Adequate and Representative (CAR) marine reserve system.

The reserve system is required to include a full range of ecosystems, reasonably reflect the biotic diversity within those ecosystems, and have the required level of reservation to ensure the ecological viability and integrity of populations, species and communities. The evidence is that this will require 20-50% of each population and ecosystem to be fully protected from fishing.

The Commonwealth had divided your waters into six marine regions, and is now deciding the future of five of these regions (it has already decided the fate of waters off Victoria and Tasmania). The waters off NSW are mostly in the Temperate East Marine Region, which extends from Bermagui on the south coast to past Fraser Island, and out to beyond Norfolk Island.

The Commonwealth is proposing that 25% of this region be incorporated into marine reserves, though most reserves are still available for most forms of fishing, with only 4% fully protected in Marine National Park zones.

The proposed outcomes are far worse for coastal ecosystems, with a mere 1.6% of the continental shelf proposed for reservation, with only 0.01% fully protected. Similarly for the continental slope only 8% is proposed for reservation with none fully protected. This is one of the worst outcomes in Australia. We have been duded.

Numerous ecosystems, key ecological features, biologically important areas and severely depleted species have been excluded.


Conservation groups have reviewed all the Commonwealth’s proposals for this region and recommended a variety of additions, and local conservationist Dailan Pugh has prepared a specific proposal for a Tweed-Byron Marine Reserve. Both reports are available on the marine section of the North Coast Environment Council website https://ncec.wordpress.com/marine/

Please emai your wishes to: Submissions.TemperateEast@environment.gov.au.

Key asks for NSW’s north-coast waters are:

  • Establishing the proposed Tweed-Byron Commonwealth Marine Reserve;
  • Establishing a link between the proposed Clarence Commonwealth Marine Reserve and the existing Solitary Islands Marine Park, and upgrading the habitat protection zone in the Commonwealth’s existing Solitary Islands Marine Park to a National Parks zone to better protect the habitat of the Grey Nurse Shark, and
  • Expanding the boundary of the proposed Hunter Commonwealth Marine Reserve southwards to Nelson Bay;

You may also wish to ask

  • That extensive Marine National Park zones be established in all marine reserves, with a minimum of 20-50% of the regional extent of each ecosystem included in Marine National Park zones
  • That mining and oil and gas exploration and production be excluded from marine reserves.

One Response

  1. It is great that these marine resrves are being established, I go snorkelling in the UK at a number of recently established marine reserves and although I have not seen a great improvement of flaura fauna, it is good to know thay are protected, one of these is wembury near plymouth which is lovely, wets suits all year round though, not like you jammy b++++++s in Oz.

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