Moreton Bay Marine Park Brisbane

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Zoning Plan remake and review

The remade Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2019 came into effect on 1 September 2019. Photo credit: Queensland Government

About Moreton Bay

    Park features

    Moreton Bay Marine Park was first declared in 1993 to protect its unique values and high biodiversity while still allowing people to use it. The marine park covers 3400km2 and stretches 125km from Caloundra to the Gold Coast. It takes in most of the bay's tidal waters, including many river estuaries and extends seawards to the limit of Queensland waters. The landward boundary is generally the line of highest astronomical tide.

    Moreton Bay Marine Park protects a range of marine and coastal environments including rocky shores, internationally significant wetlands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass meadows and sandy beaches. These habitats provide important seasonal resources for migratory wading birds, humpback whales and marine turtles. Permanent resident species include dolphins, dugong, shorebirds, grey nurse sharks and various fish species.

    Looking after the park

    Plan your visit

    Make sure you are familiar with the entry and use provisions for the marine park zone you are entering.

    Organise your gear

    Prepare and check your gear. Organise a bucket or bin with lockable lids to stow rubbish. Transfer bait and foodstuff to reusable containers. Use biodegradable cleaners for hygiene. Invest in high quality fishing gear—cheap line, nets and pots break easily and increase the chance of them being lost or abandoned. Bring cans rather than bottles.

    Stow it... don't throw it!

    Help keep Moreton Bay Marine Park beautiful. If you ship it in, ship it out. Marine wildlife will ingest fragments of rope, plastic bags and fishing line. These are not digested and cause a slow painful death.

    Fish for the future

    The natural resources of Moreton Bay are coming under increasing pressure from people. To help conserve fish stocks take only what you need and leave the rest for another day.

    Check the activities guide and fishing information to ensure you are familiar with marine park restrictions on fishing activities.

    Other fishing restrictions occur in Moreton Bay. For more information contact the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol.

    Take care when anchoring

    Take special care when anchoring—fragile seagrass and coral habitats are easily damaged by anchors. Anchoring is prohibited at Flinders Reef, Flat Rock and Myora marine national park zones. Outside these areas:

    • try to anchor in sand away from coral and seagrass
    • use a reef pick with heavy plastic tubing over the anchor chain
    • motor up to haul in the anchor.

    Where there are no approved moorings anchoring limits apply to prevent damage to seagrass, coral and bottom-dwelling animals and to manage vessel numbers.

    • A permit is required to anchor for more than 14 consecutive days in one area.
    • The time limit resets if a vessel is moved during the period and anchored at least one nautical mile from the area.
    • A vessel can anchor in one area for a maximum of 30 days in any 60 day period.
    • A vessel cannot navigate in the marine park for more than 120 days in any one period of 12 months unless it is a vessel that is transferring passengers or vehicles in the marine park, moored in a designated mooring area, or navigating under a permit.

    Bait gathering

    Moreton Bay's sandbanks and mudflats are sources of bait, but these areas are also home and food for fish, crabs, birds, turtles and dugong.

    • Bait gathering is prohibited in marine national park (green) zones.
    • Bait gatherers are required to replace seagrass sods in an upright position after removal.
    • Bait worms, eugaries/pipis or yabbies can be collected by hand, fork or yabby pump and the use of other equipment is prohibited (bag limits may apply). Information on fishing bag and size limits can be obtained from Queensland Fisheries.

    Restoring the seagrass, mud, or sand after bait digging helps ensure sediment stabilisation and allows regrowth of seagrass beds.

    Report incidents promptly

    Report marine pollution, including oil, diesel and sewage spills to Maritime Safety Queensland.

    Contact us to report the following incidents:

    • breaches against the zoning plan
    • tag numbers
    • harassment or unauthorised feeding of dolphins
    • details on catching, tag numbers or stranding of grey nurse sharks
    • unusual marine sightings.

    Report any sick, injured, dead or stranded marine turtles or marine mammals to the department on 1300 130 372 (option 1).

    Report illegal fishing activities or marine wildlife trapped in shark nets to Queensland Fisheries.

    Look out for shorebirds

    Every summer many shorebirds feed on the rich food reserves in Moreton Bay. In April they leave to fly thousands of kilometres to breed in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Each time these birds are disturbed by people, dogs or vehicles they waste valuable energy reserves. This makes flying to breeding grounds and producing healthy young more difficult. In all areas of Moreton Bay Marine Park:

    Go slow for those below!

    Moreton Bay Marine Park has a number of go slow areas to protect turtles and dugong from boat strike in critical feeding and resting areas. In these areas:

    • all vessels must travel off-the-plane or in displacement mode.
    • motorised water sports are prohibited.
    • all vessels must be operated so as to avoid hitting turtles or dugong.

    To protect dugong in southern Moreton Bay there are four go slow areas where vessels larger than 8m must travel at 10 knots or less.

    Go slow areas for natural values protect the natural integrity of a location for all marine park users to appreciate and enjoy the undisturbed values and beauty of an area without the disturbance of fast moving vessels. In these areas:

    Leave only bubbles

    When diving or snorkelling:

    • be properly weighted before entering the water
    • practice buoyancy control and test gear and techniques over sand, well away from any coral
    • secure gear, such as the secondary regulator, so it does not catch on coral
    • never lean on or hold corals and avoid hovering over corals when taking photographs
    • never stand on or rest on coral
    • quietly observe marine wildlife and avoid interrupting their natural behaviour
    • do not handle marine wildlife as they may bite or sting
    • never chase, grab or attempt to ride free-swimming marine life or block their path
    • when planning to dive at Cherubs Cave, Flat Rock or Henderson Rock, refer to the grey nurse shark designated area restrictions on the Moreton Bay Marine Park map (PDF, 2.7MB) .

    Leave it in the marine park

    It is an offence to remove almost any material, such as rock or coral, from the marine park without permission. Depositing any material in the marine park without permission is also an offence.

    Let animals find their own food

    Never leave out food, scraps or bait or deliberately feed wildlife. It is illegal to feed dolphins unless it is part of a strictly controlled program.

    Looking after the marine park from home

    Remember, what goes down the stormwater drain, sink and toilet or on the garden in the Moreton region eventually reaches the bay.

    • Keep plastics and other rubbish out of drains and creeks.
    • Keep the local park and gardens clean.
    • Pick up after the dog.
    • Use biodegradable cleaners.
    • Use biodegradable herbicides in the garden.
    • Reduce the use of fertiliser in the garden.

    Park management

    Moreton Bay Marine Park contributes to the conservation and reasonable use of significant marine natural resources. This is achieved through zoning, designated areas, regulations and permits. The marine park is used for a wide range of activities from recreation to scientific research. Commercial oystering occurs under the Oyster industry management plan for Moreton Bay Marine Park (PDF, 2.0MB) .

    The department manages the marine park as a multiple-use marine protected area. This approach recognises that people use and value marine park resources in many different ways. Unlike a national park on land where everything is protected to the greatest possible extent, the marine park allows for a range of recreational and commercial activities.

    Marine park management is all about Moreton Bay remaining a diverse, resilient and productive ecological system that can be enjoyed in the future.

    Marine parks, like Moreton Bay, that include marine national park (green) zones have been proven around the world to help conserve marine biodiversity by setting aside some areas where species and habitats can evolve and function relatively undisturbed.

    To achieve the best outcome for marine biodiversity, international standards recommend that representative samples of each habitat type found in the marine park be protected in green zones.

    Tourism information links

    Brisbane Visitor Information Centre
    Queen Street Mall, Brisbane QLD 4002
    ph (07) 3006 6290
    fax (07) 3006 6250

    Redlands IndigiScapes Centre
    17 Runnymede Road, Capalaba Qld 4157
    ph (07) 3824 8611

    Redcliffe Central Visitor Information Centre
    Redcliffe Parade, Redcliffe
    PO Box 66, Redcliffe QLD 4020
    ph (07) 3283 3577
    fax (07) 3283 3644