Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park

Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park

The Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park (PSGLMP) was declared on 1st December 2005. It covers an area of approximately 98,000 hectares and includes offshore waters to the 3 nautical mile limit of state waters between Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club and Birubi Beach Surf Life Saving Club and all estuarine waters of Port Stephens and the Karuah River, the Myall River, Myall and Smiths Lakes and all of their creeks and tributaries to the limit of tidal influence.

This multiple use Marine Park represents an opportunity to protect some of the states most spectacular and rich marine biodiversity while providing for sustainable use. The outstanding features of the Marine Park include:

    • Broughton Island, the second largest island in NSW, which provides important habitat for the threatened grey nurse shark and black cod;

    • Cabbage Tree Island (John Gould Nature Reserve), the primary breeding site for the threatened seabird Gould’s Petrel;

    • The majority of islands, reefs, beaches and rocky intertidal areas in the bioregion, providing significant habitats for the diverse fauna and flora, with five areas identified as major habitat sites for the grey nurse shark;

    • Extensive and diverse estuaries and shorelines of Port Stephens and the Great Lakes regions including remarkable features such as the largest drowned river valley in NSW (Port Stephens), the largest brackish barrier lake system in NSW (Myall Lakes), and the largest intermittently open and closed lake in NSW (Smiths Lake);

    • The largest areas of mangrove and saltmarsh in the state, and 5 percent of the seagrass area in NSW;

    • Important socio-economic values including quality recreational fishing and productive commercial fishing grounds, aquaculture, many popular scuba diving sites, and regionally significant tourism activities such as whale and dolphin watching;

    • Many heritage listed sites, such as the spectacular lighthouses at Point Stephens and Seal Rocks;

    • A multitude of historic shipwrecks including the Satara, Oakland, Catterthun, and Macleay.

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 many traditional practices are still undertaken today, including fishing and collecting.

Full details of the Marine Parks Amendment (Port Stephens – Great Lakes) Regulation 2007 are available from http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/psglmp.html. Refer to Marine Parks Regulation (Zoning Plan) 1999, Part 6, Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning Plan.

© NSW Marine Parks Authority 2007