Our New South Wales Marine Parks are home to a huge variety of special and beautiful marine species, including the majestic humpback whale, critically endangered grey nurse sharks, the threatened black cod, weedy sea-dragons, little penguins, fur seals and unique subtropical corals.
Why are our New South Wales Marine Parks important?
Off the coast of New South Wales warm tropical currents meet and mix with cool temperate seas creating world class marine life on the doorstep of our most populated state. With the help of the East Australian Current, marine life travel south from the Great Barrier Reef to visit or reside in these waters. It is the combination of mixing tropical and temperate seas and the incredible seascape which includes underwater mountain chains, deep sea canyons, islands and reefs that result in a unique mix of creatures found nowhere else on Earth.
These waters are home to the majestic humpback whale, critically endangered grey nurse sharks, the threatened black cod, weedy sea-dragons, little penguins, fur seals and unique subtropical corals.
Key areas of the NSW Marine Park estate
NSW is home to 6 spectacular marine parks along the coast. Yet there is a significant gap in the Sydney region where there is no marine park protection. In every poll conducted in NSW over the past 5 years on the issue of marine protection, support for marine sanctuaries among the general public and fishers alike has averaged 70-90%. And yet, just 7% of the NSW coastline is protected in marine sanctuaries.
Marine sanctuaries are backed by Australia’s marine science community and are scientifically proven to protect biodiversity and restore fish stocks.
Solitary Islands Marine Park
On the NSW north coast near Coffs Harbour are the Solitary Islands. Here, species normally found in temperate southern waters swim amongst tropical corals. The mixing of tropical, subtropical and temperate species makes this place extremely unique. The Solitary Islands Marine Park is home to a range of threatened and protected species such as the grey nurse shark, black cod, marine turtles, whales, shore birds and even rare marine algae.
Jervis Bay Marine Park
On the NSW south coast, 200kms below Sydney, lies Jervis Bay, a place renowned for its long white beaches and crystal clear waters. This precious bay is a haven for divers and snorkelers alike, and is treasured for its extensive seagrass meadows, dolphins, turtles, weedy sea-dragons, and undersea caves.
Lord Howe & Norfolk Island Marine Parks
In the deeper waters off the New South Wales coast exist 3 chains of giant underwater mountains teeming with life – the Tasmantid chain, the Lord Howe rise and the Norfolk ridge. These coral encrusted underwater volcanoes rise from the seafloor approximately 4,800 metres high making them more than twice the size of Mt Kosciuszko and supporting hundreds of species, including many unknown to science.
A Sydney Marine Park – needs be established
Sydney’s beaches, bays and waterways are truly iconic – renowned for their beauty both above and below the water. Yet less than 1% of the waters are protected. There are stunning national parks on land around the harbour and coastline, but none in the sea. There are thriving marine parks to the north and south, as outlined above, but none in the Sydney region.