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Marine Parks and Recreational Fishing

Community Based Sustainable Fishing Education Project Information Sheet #5

Download info sheet as a pdf here (recommended). Already read the info sheet? - jump to further reading

Be sure to check out our SA Marine Parks page as well



Marine Parks and Recreational Fishing - FAQ, References and additional resources

Marine Parks - FAQ, References and additional resources

Further reading:

Marine Protected Areas
The proposed Marine Protected Areas are designed to protect important representative areas including spawning aggregations in South Australia. The term representative area is defined as an area typical of the surrounding habitat or communities (DEH, 2004). Representative areas are important as they enable us to conserve and protect the variety of life in our marine environments (DEH, 2004). It is the goal of the south Australian government to have a network of MPAs that collectively encompass all known types of habitats and communities in South Australia (DEH, 2004). MPAs will have a multiple use approach whereby recreational and commercial fishing will be allowed to take place inside the MPA except for certain areas or times of the year (DEH, 2004). There are five zones that may be used within MPAs to differentiate between the protection and usage levels (DEH, 2004).

The five zones are:

  • Restricted access – generally the smallest zone of an MPA, designed to preserve significant biological habitats in pristine condition.
  • Sanctuary – no take areas that are still available to the public for swimming, snorkelling, boating and diving.
  • Habitat protection – allows both recreational and commercial use that does not significantly impact on the habitat or fish stocks.
  • General managed use – regular sustainable recreational and commercial fishing allowed
  • Special purpose – designed for areas such as ports that require specific zoning and legislation.

Community involvement is recognised by the department of environment and heritage as an integral part of the South Australian Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (DEH, 2004). Public consultation was/is being sought from all interested parties in the development of zoning and management of MPAs to minimise negative impacts on recreational and commercial fishers (DEH, 2004).

The protection of spawning aggregations is an obvious means of preserving and aid in the recovery of fish stocks. It will operate in a similar fashion to the snapper closure however closures will possibly occur spatially not only temporally. For species such as the King George Whiting they must first run a gauntlet of nets, lines and hooks before they even reach the deeper spawning grounds. It is suggested that no take zone covering some of the spawning grounds will aid in stock stabilization and increased recruitment.

Documented increase in fish size and stock in MPA
Russ and Alcala (1996) documented the change in the number of large predatory reef fishes between periods of marine reserve and as an open fishery on two Philippine reefs. It was shown that whilst the reefs where protected marine reserves there was a steady increase in the number of large predatory reef fishes (Russ & Alcala, 1996). The number of large predatory reef fish dropped rapidly once the reefs were open to fishing (Russ & Alcala, 1996). The study then indicated that it took five years for the fish numbers to return to those prior to the single year of fishing (Russ & Alcala, 1996).

The Spill over effect is a by product of correctly zoned and managed MPAs whereby the no take areas are able to generate a larger population then the habitat can sustain and therefore fish migrate out into these and into habitat protection and general managed use zones.

Further Readings:

MPA-Blue print link

A comprehensive background on Marine Protected areas can be found at


References and links

Marine Parks Authority New South Wales A review of benefits of Marine Protected Areas and related zoning considerations Word Version of a document previously available at

The Economic Payoffs from Marine Reserves: Resource Rents in a Stochastic Environment* R. QUENTIN GRAFTON, TOM KOMPAS, PHAM VAN HA. (2006) THE ECONOMIC RECORD, VOL. 82, NO. 259, DECEMBER, 2006, 469–480 Blackwell Publishing, Ltd. Oxford, UK ECOR Economic Record 0013-0249 2006 The Economic Society of Australia. December 2006 82 4

Garry R. Russ, Angel C. Alcala, 1996, Ecological Applications, Vol. 6, No. 3 pp. 947-961


Frequently asked Questions

In the Information sheet you state that Snapper and Crayfish numbers have been increased in Marine Parks, what studies are you reffering to?

• At the Poor Knight Islands in New Zealand, the total biomass of snapper increased by around 800% following the declaration of a ‘no take’ marine reserve. 18 • At the Maria Island Marine Reserve in Tasmania, fish numbers increased by around 240% following protection. In particular, southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) increased by 260%, while the largest lobster observed in the sanctuary steadily increased over the years of surveying from 129 to 200 mm carapace length. Generally, legal-sized lobsters (110 mm males, 105 mm females TL or CL) were common in the sanctuary, but extremely rare in areas open to fishing. 19, 20 Source