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Marine Parks

South Australia has marine parks that are managed by the State Government and Federal Government.

  • The South Australian marine parks network prescribed under the Marine Parks Act 2007 came into operation in 2014.
  • There are 19 marine parks located in state coastal waters. These areas take up 6% of waters.
  • There are six marine parks located in Commonwealth waters adjacent to South Australia’s coastline. They are located within the southwest and southeast marine parks network. The southeast marine parks network expired in June 2023 and is currently under review. The National Environmental Science Program also produced a report in 2022 on Designing a targeted monitoring program to support evidence-based management of Australian Marine Parks.

Marine parks help conserve marine ecosystems and species. They protect critical habitats by restricting access to certain activities such as fishing and mining. Permitted activities depend on the level of protection that is allocated within a marine park. During SOER consultation undertaken by the EPA, it was suggested that we need to strengthen and prioritise management of marine parks using a collaborative approach.


The total area of South Australia’s 19 marine parks has increased by 358 km2 (0.5%) between 2012 and 2022 and now covers 44.8% of state waters with 6.2% being highly protected under sanctuary zones (5.1%) and restricted access zones (1.1%).

Percentage coverage of marine protected areas in state waters
Percentage coverage of marine protected areas in state waters (DEW Report Card)

A progress summary and status report were released in 2017 by state government to assess the progress of the marine parks program. Monitoring has demonstrated that marine parks have had a positive impact on conserving biodiversity and habitat in protected areas. A 10-year review, as required by the Marine Parks Act 2007, is currently being undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the management plans in achieving the objectives of the Act. This review will be completed in 2024.