Located on Australia's east coast, the state of New South Wales is famous for its varied landscapes and rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity. Accordingly, large parts of the state and its territorial waters are protected to conserve these ecosystems. New South Wales contains six marine parks that protect the marine flora and fauna of the state's offshore. These marine parks are listed below.
6. Batemans Marine Park
Batemans Marine Park is located in the Australian state of New South Wales, encompassing the waters at Rosedale, an affluent settlement located along the beach on the south coast. The park was established on June 30, 2007. Fishing, although allowed, is strictly regulated in the area, with maximum restrictions levied on commercial fishing. The critically endangered grey nurse sharks breed in the Burrewarra Point Sanctuary Zone of the marine park and are heavily protected.
5. Cape Byron Marine Park
Spanning an area of 220 square km, Cape Byron Marine Park is located in the northern part of New South Wales, spanning a distance of 5.6 km from the Brunswick River to the seaside village of Lennox Head. The region protects 15 distinct marine ecosystems and features a varied landscape of beaches, open ocean, tidal waters, and more. Visitors to the park can enjoy many activities like fishing, diving, walking, and swimming. Several types of marine animals like sharks, rays, dolphins, eels, and seabirds can be found within the marine park. More than 530 species of fish including threatened species like the black cod, the gray nurse shark also live in the park. The marine park is also home to three species of threatened sea turtles and several species of migratory and resident birds that breed and nest in the area. Currently, the marine park faces several threats to its environment, including irresponsible tourism, pollution, and climate change.
4. Jervis Bay Marine Park
With an area of 210 square km, Jervis Bay Marine Park was established in 1998. The primary aim of the park was to protect the marine flora and fauna of the area, as well as to provide recreational opportunities for visitors.
3. Lord Howe Island Marine Park
Lord Howe Marine Park conserves the southernmost coral reef ecosystem of the world. The park was established in 1999 to protect the waters surrounding the Lord Howe Island, which are also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The three distinct habitats founds within the marine park include the offshore or open sea, the macroalgal beds, and the coral reefs. A great diversity of marine flora and fauna are supported by these habitats of the marine park. Approximately 47 endemic species of benthic algae live in these waters, and more than 400 species of fish and 110 species of echinoderms including several endemics inhabit the marine park. Like many of the world's natural habitats, the flora and fauna of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park are under constant threat from human activities, and some species that used to inhabit the area have become extinct.
2. Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park
Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park was established on December 1, 2005. Occupying an area of 240,000 acres, the marine park includes the entire area of Port Stephens, which is a drowned valley estuary subjected to tidal action. The marine park also encompasses the Myall and Karuah rivers, as well as their tributaries and creeks affected by tides. The aim of establishing the park was the protection of the wildlife residing in the area. The marine park is highly popular with tourists and offers numerous recreational activities, such as fishing, whale and dolphin watching, and boating.
1. Solitary Islands Marine Park
Solitary Island Marine Park is located in northern New South Wales, where it extends from Muttonbird Island to Plover Island. It covers an area of 72,000 hectares and encompasses estuaries, lakes, and islands within its boundaries. The marine park supports a variety of habitats including beaches, mangroves, marshes, open waters, seagrass beds, and intertidal reefs. Diverse flora and fauna are found in the habitats of the marine park. Birds of various types like seabirds, waders, and raptors all live in the area, and about 30 species of mammals like the dolphins, whales, an endangered species of bat, bandicoots, foxes, and rats also live in the waters and in the coastal areas. The park is home to 858 fish species, as well as reptiles like turtles and snakes. Although the Solitary Islands Marine Park is a conservation area, certain zones are open to visitors for recreational activities, as well as commercial fishing. Pollution, oil spills, dredging, sewage dumping, and unregulated tourism are some of the detrimental factors adversely impacting the marine park's ecosystem.