Moreton Bay Marine Park
Cradling the coast of south-east Queensland, Moreton Bay Marine Park is a beautiful tapestry of islands, reefs, sheltered inlets and open ocean covering 3400 km2 and stretching 125km from Caloundra to the Gold Coast, near the New South Wales border.
Over the last 150 years, the bay has been exploited for coral mining, sand mining, whaling and seafood, and has been increasingly polluted from coastal development and land based run-off. In the mid 1960s, strong public opposition arose against plans for a canal estate and further mining. Finally, three decades later, after a long community campaign by local conservationists, scientists, tourism groups and educators, the Moreton Bay Marine Park was declared in 1993.
The first Moreton Bay Marine Park zoning plan regulated some forms of trawling, but left 99% of the bay open to most types of fishing, with less than 1% protected in green zones, or marine national park zones. These areas set aside to protect the ocean's rich diversity of life. Also called marine sanctuaries or marine national parks, green zones also offer a way to protect vulnerable marine species such as turtles, dolphins and dugongs and the habitats they depend on such as sea grasses, coral reefs and mangroves. They allow fish to spawn and grow, provide unspoilt natural sites for people to visit and offer areas for education and research.
In 2009, in response to ongoing community concerns, the Queensland Government released a new zoning plan for Moreton Bay Marine Park. The marine park now has 16% designated marine national park zones. A further 8% of the park has conservation status in which limited recreation and commercial activities are permitted but netting and trawling are not. Trawling is not allowed in a further 30% of the park.
Turtles and dugongs are protected by additional “go slow” areas where vessels must travel at slower speeds to give wildlife a chance to move out of the way or the driver to avoid any collisions.
See the Queensland Government's Moreton Bay User Guide here.