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Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park

The NSW Government announced its decision on the recreational fishing amnesty in NSW Marine Parks, based on the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel’s advice and further consideration of social values and use conflicts at some sites.

In Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park, the NSW Government proposes to rezone the shoreline (to 100 m offshore) at the following two sites from sanctuary zone to habitat protection zone to permanently allow shore-based recreational line fishing:

  1. Celito South
  2. Fiona Beach.

The amnesty on shore-based recreational line fishing at these two sites will continue until the rezoning process is finalised.

The amnesty has now ceased at the following four sites and enforcement of sanctuary zone rules has recommenced:

  1. Cape Hawke
  2. Yacaaba Head
  3. Zenith Beach
  4. Fingal Island.

All forms of fishing are prohibited in sanctuary zones and significant penalties apply including on-the-spot fines of up to $500.

For more information, please visit the NSW Marine Estate website or contact the Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park office.

Location and size

Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park extends from Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club near Forster south to Birubi Beach Life Saving Club at the northern end of Stockton Beach and includes offshore waters to the 3 nautical mile limit of state waters.  It includes Port Stephens and the Karuah River, the Myall River, Myall and Smiths Lakes and all their creeks and tributaries to the tidal limit.
The park covers an area of approximately 98 000 hectares.

Note: Percentages for zones may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Date established

The NSW Government established the park in December 2005.

Special features

The park’s diverse marine life includes many species of dolphins, turtles, fish, invertebrates, seabirds and seaweeds along with threatened species such as the Gould’s petrel, little tern, grey nurse shark and green turtle. Humpback whales travel along the marine park coastline during their annual migration north to breeding grounds. Important oceanic islands, major estuarine wetlands and lake systems feature among a variety of park habitats.

Many significant Indigenous cultural and spiritual sites are located within or adjacent to the marine park including middens, burial sites and traditional campsites. Aboriginal association with the sea and land in the area dates back thousands of years and Indigenous people still gather food in the traditional way.

Recreational and commercial use

The park is zoned for multiple use and protects marine habitats and species while catering for a wide range of sustainable activities. Visitors and local residents can enjoy a eco-tourism activities including fishing, boating, dolphin and whale watching as well as swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and other water sports.

Commercial fishing is permitted in the general use zones and, on a more limited basis, in habitat protection zones.
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