Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 271–278

Zoning, a fundamental cornerstone of effective Marine Spatial Planning: lessons learnt from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia


DOI: 10.1007/s11852-011-0147-2

Cite this article as:
Kenchington, R.A. & Day, J.C. J Coast Conserv (2011) 15: 271. doi:10.1007/s11852-011-0147-2


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established to provide for conservation and ecologically sustainable multiple use of 344,400 km2 of a large marine ecosystem. Management is based on multiple use, with zoning as a fundamental component of marine spatial planning. The legislative framework, including a specific Act and Regulations, address the objectives of ecosystem-based, integrated management of human uses and impacts consistent with best contemporary understanding of biological diversity. Zoning is one of a suite of management tools that include other spatial and temporal management tools and non-spatial measures including public education, community engagement, codes of environmental best practice, industry partnerships and economic instruments. The first section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park came into operation in 1981 and the most recent zoning came into operation in mid 2004. The paper discusses some common misunderstandings about zoning and identifies lessons that appear relevant for others addressing management and use of marine ecosystems and natural resources.


ConservationEcologically sustainable useLarge marine ecosystemEcosystem - based managementIntegrated managementOcean zoningMarine park

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and SecurityUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Great Barrier Reef Marine Park AuthorityTownsvilleAustralia