Great Sandy Marine Park Bundaberg | Fraser Coast | Sunshine Coast

Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan Review

The review of the zoning plan for the Great Sandy Marine Park has been completed. The outcomes of the review result in a range of zoning and management changes that will be included in the final zoning plan. Photo credit: © Queensland Museum

Photo credit: © Ben Edmonds Photography

Great Sandy Marine Park Regional Profile: Bundaberg Coast

    Image of Baffle Creek.

    Image of Baffle Creek.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    Map showing Bundaberg Coast region of the Great Sandy Marine Park.

    Map showing Bundaberg Coast region of the Great Sandy Marine Park.

    The Bundaberg Coast region captures the most northern section of the marine park, extending from the western side of the Bundaberg Port exclusion area to just north of Baffle Creek (the northern extent of the marine park). The coastal township of Moore Park is the most significant population centre bordering this region.

    Environmental values

    Much of the nearshore waters and coastline are exposed to open wave action, resulting in wetland communities (such as mangroves and seagrass) being largely restricted to the protected estuarine systems of Baffle Creek, Littabella Creek and Kolan River1. The coastal and riverine processes in the region combine to make the mouths of some of these waterways highly mobile and dynamic areas. For instance, the mouth of Littabella Creek has shifted approximately two kilometers south over the past 30 years, and significant changes around the Kolan River mouth have occurred during the last 20 years2,3.

    Baffle Creek is one of the few remaining river systems within southern Queensland with a flow regime that is not modified by the presence of a major dam, weir or other form of waterway barrier. This, combined with its size, habitat diversity and low level of disturbance, make this waterway an area of high conservation value, and an important ‘benchmark’ system against which rivers that have regulated flows can be compared2.

    The Bundaberg Coast region is recognised for its important shorebird nesting and feeding habitats, particularly for species such as little terns, eastern curlew, grey-tailed tattler, red-capped plover and pied oystercatcher, around the mouths of Baffle Creek, Kolan River and Littabella Creek3,4. Key turtle nesting and inter-nesting (preparing eggs prior to coming ashore) habitats are located in the region, particularly towards the southern end5. The area is also recognised for its diverse fish populations and important fish habitat values3.


    The areas adjacent to Moore Park and the Miara caravan park are key locations in the region for nearshore recreational activities such as swimming and kayaking. Beach driving along the open beaches also occurs in some parts of this region.

    Recreational and commercial fishing

    Boating and fishing are the primary human uses of this region within the marine park. Commercial fishers net for mullet, mackerel, bream, whiting, flathead and trevally, and pot for mud crabs, particularly in the Kolan River and Baffle Creek. Beam trawling for banana prawns occurs in the Kolan River, and otter trawling for prawns, scallops, bugs and sand crabs occurs along the offshore fringe of this region. Recreational fishers target many of the same fish and crab species as the commercial fishers. Some waterways within the region, particularly Baffle Creek, are popular with specialist anglers targeting species such as mangrove jack, threadfin salmon and barramundi.

    Coastal development

    The region’s waterways contain a range of small scale, predominantly private structures such as jetties, boat ramps and revetments associated with adjacent land uses. A small number of larger commercial structures also extend into the marine park, such as the water inlet and outlet structures associated with the prawn farms at Baffle and Littabella Creeks. While intensive agriculture is conducted in the area surrounding the Kolan River and Littabella Creek, the region is generally fringed by low intensity land uses.

    Marine park zoning

    With the exception of Baffle and Littabella Creeks, the remainder of this region is managed as a general use zone. Baffle and Littabella Creeks are conservation park zones, recognising the high conservation values provided by these two waterways. Baffle Creek also forms part of the designated Great Sandy Area. This designated area allows for the continuation of some fishing practices that would normally be prohibited or limited within a conservation park zone. Specifically, commercial net fishing is allowed to continue when commercial netting other than bait netting would usually be prohibited. Recreational fishers are allowed to use up to three lines or rods per person when they would usually be limited to one line or rod per person.

    Additional management arrangements

    This Bundaberg Coast region is overlaid and/or complemented by additional management initiatives including:

    • the Baffle Creek and the Kolan River declared Fish Habitat Areas, which recognise the fish habitat values of these waterways and protect them from development-related disturbance.
    • a range of fisheries and fish habitat management arrangements under the Fisheries Act 1994 (e.g. size limits, possession limits, gear restrictions, etc) that aim to sustainably manage fish stocks and fish passage, and protect marine plants from disturbance.
    • protection of threatened species listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
    • adjacent conservation parks under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, which extend over some tidal wetland areas at the mouths of the Kolan River and Baffle Creek.
    • a suite of state legislation that delivers: coastal management, environment protection, vegetation and water management, management of maritime activities, and provides a framework for land use planning and development regulation.
    • Local government planning schemes, regional plans and natural resource management plans.


    1. Fisheries Research Consultants, “A study of marine and intertidal habitats of the Great Sandy Region,” Unpublished report, Wellington Point, Queensland, 1993.
    2. C. Bruinsma and K. Danaher, “Queensland coastal wetland resources: Round Hill to Tin Can Inlet,” Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland, 2000.
    3. J. Mackenzie and N. Duke, “State of the mangroves report: Burnett Mary Region. A descriptive account and condition assessment of estuaries, tidal wetlands and mangroves. Final report to the Burnett Mary Regional Group,” University of Queensland, Centre for Marine Studies, Brisbane, Queensland, 2009.
    4. D. Milton and S. Harding, “Shorebirds of the Burnett Coast: surveys of critical high tide roosts,” Queensland Wader Study Group, Unpublished report, Burbank, Queensland, 2007.
    5. C. Limpus, Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan Renewal - Values, EHP Threatened Species Unit Queensland Turtle Conservation project, Brisbane: Unpublished data, 2016.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.