Project number: 2021-070
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $227,634.86
Principal Investigator: Genevieve Phillips
Organisation: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2022 - 7 Jul 2024


In Australia, the definition, and objectives of partially protected areas (PPAs) in the marine environment are inconsistent across jurisdictions. Some examples of PPAs in Australia include spatial or temporal closures to commercial fishing; ‘special-use’ or ‘multi-use’ zones within marine protected areas; and marine zones where recreational fishing is allowed for specific species.

The implementation of such areas is underpinned by a tension to balance the environmental, economic, and social values of multiple users, and multiple objectives of such areas. In turn, resource managers require systematic knowledge of these diverse user values to consider them in decision making and ensure mutually beneficial outcomes wherever possible.

Within Australia, a wide range and combination of such regulations are applied in both Commonweath and State-managed waters, but there is limited understanding of associated effectiveness and implementation of PPAs relative to their stated goals.

Consultation with key stakeholders in Parks Australia, ABARES, DPIPWE (Tasmania), Parks Victoria, and researchers recently working in Fisheries NSW, highlighted the requirement to create an inventory of current PPAs, and where possible, quantify the multiple benefits (environmental, economic, and social) currently attained through PPAs to provide resource managers with evidence-based tools to implement appropriate marine zoning policies.

Recent analyses have suggested there is no benefit to the introduction of specific types of PPAs along the New South Wales coastline (Turnbull et al. 2021) and we will build on the results of this study to quantitatively understand whether these results are representative for all PPAs in Australian and Commonwealth-managed waters.

This project will review definitions of the main objectives for PPAs across Australia and characterise their implementation across Australia. We will then quantify the extent to which specific types of PPAs achieve their stated goals and use the results to develop evidence-based decision support tools, in conjunction with marine resource managers, to facilitate effective implementation of appropriate marine policies.


1. Review definitions of environmental, economic and social objectives for partially protected marine areas across Australia.
2. Characterise partially protected area (PPA) implementation across Australia.
3. Analyse to what extent PPAs achieve their stated goals and allow for fair access to marine resources.
4. Develop quantitative decision support tools suitable for resource managers to evaluate PPA implementation strategies.

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