Planning, Policies and Documents

Key Ramsar Documents

The Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS), Ecological Character Description (ECD) and Ramsar Management Summary (RMS) are the key planning documents for the Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area site and for all other Australian Ramsar sites.

The RIS is a document which describes the legal boundary of the site outlining the justification for listing. The RIS also describes the ecological character, threats, conservation measures and use of the site. The RIS for Shoalwater and Corio Bays can be found here.

The ECD describes the ecological character of the wetland at the time it was listed. The ECD is a fundamental management tool for site managers, forming the basis of management planning and action as well as including guidance on monitoring to detect changes in the ecological character of the site. The ECD for the Shoalwater and Corio Bay can be found here.

The RMS is a document designed to provide information and guidance for the management of a Ramsar site. The RMS for Shoalwater and Corio Bays is currently unavailable to the public.

The Ramsar site falls within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The flyway extends from Arctic Russia and North America to the southern limits of Australia and New Zealand. It encompasses large parts of East Asia, all of Southeast Asia and includes eastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The scale of avian movement along the flyway is magnificent, with over 50 million migratory waterbirds using the route each year. The latest version of the Site Information Sheet (SIS) can be found here.

Other Planning Documents

The Shoalwater Bay section of the Ramsar site falls within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and is therefore managed by the Department of Defence (DoD).  The DoD also have a number of site specific management plans to address issues such as weed and pest management, monitoring programs and bushfire management.

The Byfield Area Management Plan (2010) from the Queensland Government describes the natural values, threats and management of Byfield National Park. This document includes the terrestrial areas of the Corio Bay section of the Ramsar site.

The marine waters within and surrounding the Ramsar site constitute part of the Great Barrier Reef, with areas below the mean low-water mark being part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Australian Government), and areas between the mean high and low-water mark being part of the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park (Queensland). These waters are subject to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan (2003) which organises the park into a network of protected zones with different restrictions and regulations. The Australian and State Government Marine Park zoning is complementary to provide consistent management. The waters of the Shoalwater Bay section are classified as a Marine National Park Zone. These zones provide protection to natural integrity and values, and are generally free from extractive activities and allow for certain activities in relatively undisturbed areas.  The Corio Bay section is classified as a Conservation Park Zone which provides conservation for the Marine Park, reasonable use and enjoyment and limited extractive activities.

In addition to the Marine Park zones, there are also two protected areas within the Ramsar site. These are the Dugong Protected Area and the Corio Bay Declared Fish Habitat Area (FHA). The Dugong Protected Area was declared due Shoalwater Bay being the most important dugong habitat in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The principle planning document for this area is the Shoalwater Bay (Dugong) Plan of Management (1997), which aims to manage activities in the bay that threaten dugongs or their seagrass habitat.

The Corio Bay FHA is classified as a Management A area which is declared to protect important fish habitats from coastal development and impose stricter management measures, while allowing for legal fishing and community use. FHAs are declared by regulation under section 120 of the Fisheries Act 1994 as part of the ongoing identification, management and protection of critical fish habitats in Queensland. The Corio Bay Declared FHA is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service through the Declared Fish  Habitat Area Network Strategy 2015-2020.

Another important plan is the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan (2018) which provides the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.


Our Ramsar site is substantial and therefore requires an equally substantial amount of plans, policies and documents to ensure it remains in good health.

For up-to-date information regarding plans, policies and documents that affect Shoalwater and Corio Bays Ramsar site, please refer to this website.