What WWF is doing to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

To safeguard marine biodiversity our long-term goal is to support the creation of a comprehensive, adequate and ecologically representative network of well-managed MPAs across all of Australia’s marine environments. Australia has the third largest marine jurisdiction in the world and some of the most diverse marine wildlife and habitat.

From the tropics to the sub-Antarctic, WWF has been working to support a national MPA network that provides a balance between no-take zones or sanctuaries (and other restricted use areas) and areas of multiple use. In particular, we are seeking:
  • the establishment and implementation of a network of ecologically representative, well-managed marine protected areas;
  • improvements to the management of existing MPAs; and
  • a reduction in the impact of external threats, such as human activities and climate change, to MPAs.
By drawing on the best scientific advice available WWF helps governments and local communities select which marine areas need full protection and determine the kind of protection measures that suit them best. In some circumstances we also help to implement the MPA. Working with researchers to advance the science of designing MPA networks is another way that WWF contributes.

WWF is working internationally to make sure the commitments made at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002 and the UN Convention on Biodiversity in 2010 are honoured.


Iconic MPAs in Australia

Marine protected areas can be established in Australia under Commonwealth law (in Commonwealth waters) or under State or Territory law (in State or Territory waters).

Australia has a proud record of establishing MPAs and has created networks from the tropics to the Australian Antarctic Territory. However, only a small percentage of Australia’s marine environments are fully protected. Vast areas of critical habitat remain unprotected. There is much important work to be done and WWF continues to play a leadership role, in partnership with other groups, to see MPAs created across Australia’s diverse marine environment.

Find out what WWF is doing in some of Australia’s most valued and treasured marine ecosystems: