Special Management Areas

Special Management Areas manage access and use of a specific area and are in addition to zoning. There are different types of Special Management Areas across the Marine Parks and these and are shown on the relevant zoning maps.

Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003, a Special Management Area may be designated for a number of reasons including:

Image of Dugong mother and calf. Image credit Chris Jones

Special Management Areas protect a variety of values within the Marine Park

  • Conservation of a particular species or natural resource for example turtle, dugong, bird nesting sites or fish spawning aggregation sites
  • Protection of cultural or heritage values
  • Public safety
  • To ensure opportunities for appreciation by the public
  • Response to an emergency (for example, a ship grounding, oil spill or marine pest outbreak)
  • Restricting access to, or use of, areas of the Marine Park adjoining areas of which access is restricted or prohibited under a law of Queensland or the Commonwealth.

The specific rules and boundary descriptions of each Special Management Area can be found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019.

To find out what Special Management Areas are in the region you’re visiting view the site specific management for the relevant area.