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Solitary Islands 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 Solitary Islands 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. Minnie Water Back Beach
  2. Bare Bluff to Diggers Point and Moonee 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. Jones Beach
  2. Jones Point
  3. Freshwater Beach region
  4. Flat Top Point.

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 Solitary Islands Marine Park office.

Location and size

The first marine park established in NSW, the Solitary Islands Marine Park stretches over 75 km from Muttonbird Island in the south to the Sandon River and Plover Island in the north.  The marine park incorporates estuaries to their tidal limit, foreshores to the mean high water mark and extends offshore to the 3 nautical mile state waters boundary. 

It covers an area of around 72 200 hectares.

The zoning plan for Solitary Islands Marine Park is as follows:

On 26 May 2011, the NSW Government abolished the new zoning plan implemented by the former government on 1 March 2011. The original zoning plan in place since 2002 has now been restored.

An independent scientific audit into the effectiveness of marine park zoning arrangements and thorough community consultation will occur before any future zoning changes are implemented.

Adjacent is the Commonwealth Solitary Islands Marine Reserve of 160 square km. The Marine Parks Authority manages the Reserve under an annual business agreement. 

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

Establishment

The NSW Government established the Solitary Islands Marine Park on 2 January 1998, incorporating all of the state waters of the Solitary Islands Marine Reserve.

Special features

The marine park contains a diverse range of habitats including estuaries, sandy beaches, intertidal rocky shores, sub-tidal reefs and open oceans.  It also contains the important island group, the "Solitary Islands", from which the marine park takes its name. 

Researchers have identified over 550 species of reef fish, 90 species of hard coral and 600 species of molluscs (shelled animals) in the marine park.  The marine park also supports a range of threatened and protected species such as the grey nurse shark, black cod, turtles, whales, shore birds and rare marine algae. 

The local Aboriginal communities within the Gumbaynggirr Nation have strong cultural links with the marine park and are actively involved in conservation planning. 

Recreational and commercial use

Visitors and the local community enjoy a range of recreational and commercial activities in the marine park.  The most popular activities are swimming and surfing, followed by fishing.

Visitors can enjoy the unique four day Yuraygir Coastal Walk which traverses Yuraygir National Park, the longest stretch of protected coastline in NSW. The walk crosses heathland plains, long sandy beaches, crystal clear creeks and lagoons, and rocky headlands.

Commercial fishing vessels operating out of Coffs Harbour and the Clarence River access the marine park.

All recreational and commercial activities are managed under the Solitary Islands Marine Park Zoning Plan. - PDF 1.8 Mb

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