The Port Stephens- Great Lakes Marine Park is a multiple use marine park. To enhance the conservation of marine habitats and species, various levels of protection are provided by means of zoning. There are four zones:
- Sanctuary Zones
- Habitat Protection Zones
- General Use Zones
- Special Purpose Zones
To view the details of the various zones, follow the link to the Marine Park Authority website.
Most of the waters of North Arm Cove are covered by the General Use Zone. Boating, commercial and recreational fishing and most other recreational activities are permitted uses within this zone. For further details, follow the above link.
However, the northern section of the Cove is a Sanctuary Zone. This zone includes Bulga Creek and Bundabah Creek. The precise area bounded by the sanctuary zone is as follows:
the whole of the tidal waters and tidal lands to the mean high water mark of North Arm Cove and its creeks, bays and tributaries, upstream of the line between:
(a) the point on the mean high water mark nearest to 32 degrees, 39.555 minutes south, 152 degrees, 03.617 minutes east on the eastern bank, and
(b) the point on the mean high water mark nearest to 32 degrees 39.216 minutes south , 152 degrees 03.002 minutes east on the western bank.
This line is marked by two yellow buoys in the water and by two alloy posts with a small sign attached on the land.
Sanctuary Zones are intended to provide the highest level of protection of the marine environment. For this reason, there are restrictions on the types of activities that can be carried out in a sanctuary zone. Boating is allowed, but fishing and anchoring on sea grass beds are prohibited. There are several oyster leases within the sanctuary zone. Although aquaculture is prohibited, the leases are in a special purpose zone within the sanctuary zone. For further details of the permitted activities in the sanctuary zone, follow the above link to the Marine Parks website.
There are penalties for breaches of the Marine Parks Act 1997 and the Marine Parks Regulation 1999. Maps of the Marine Park Zoning are available at commercial outlets as well as government offices.