Big, Bold and Blue

Paperback - July 2016 - AU $89.95

eBook - July 2016 - eRetailers Google Books Kobo

Documents the progress across Australia's marine waters in developing the marine protected area system, the challenges faced and the lessons learnt.

The world’s oceans cover about 70% of our planet. To safeguard the delicate ecological and environmental functions of the oceans and their remarkable biodiversity, networks of marine protected areas are being created. In some of these areas, human activity is restricted to non-exploitative activities and in others it is managed in a sustainable way. Australia is at the forefront of marine conservation, with one of the largest systems of marine protected areas in the world. + Full description

Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas captures Australia’s experience, sharing important lessons from the Great Barrier Reef and many other extraordinary marine protected areas. It presents real-world examples, leading academic research, perspectives on government policy, and information from indigenous sea country management, non-governmental organisations, and commercial and recreational fishing sectors. The lessons learnt during the rapid expansion of Australia’s marine protected areas, both positive and negative, will aid and advise other nations in their own marine conservation efforts.

The book is ideal reading for marine planners and managers across the globe; academic institutions where research on marine environments occur; government agencies across the world implementing and creating policy around MPA development; non-government organisations involved in lobbying for MPA expansion; and fisheries agencies and industry stakeholders.

- Short description


"With a writing style that is suitable for anyone with a general interest in MPAs through to accomplished academics in this particular field, Big, Bold and Blue is a must read for anyone seeking a thorough understanding and evaluation of MPAs in Australia. This book will be a valuable tool for nations working towards more effective management and conservation of their marine and coastal environments."
Stephanie Venables, Pacific Conservation Biology 23(2), 2017, pp. 214-215

"this book is a fantastic reference for anyone interested in the nitty gritty of MPAs in Australia and provides an essential reference or primer for anyone working in marine protected areas - whether they are for of against this king of management approach. Beyond a reference, it provides stimulating discussion and coverage of a range of topics critiquing and celebrating MPA systems across Australia."
Nathan Knott, Australian Marine Science Bulletin 200(2), September 2017, pp.66-67

"This impressive book... provides a well-documented, comprehensive and very useful account of the state of play with MPA creation in Australia. It incorporates a wide range of perspectives and relevant issues. It distills many decades of experience over a variety of government jurisdictions. It is beautifully presented and will be a welcome addition to the libraries of many with an interest in marine protection and ocean health more generally."
Raewyn Peart, Sciblogs (blog), 4 October 2016

"it is the individual stories of success and failure throughout the book that really point to how things might be done differently if and when there is a next time.
"This will be a great resource for students of marine conservation, campaigners, and for those charged with managing MPAs, in order to understand what has happened during the past couple of decades."
Mark Rodrigue, Park Watch, 266, September 2016, p. 37

"the key strength of this particular book lies in the level of detail which is presented to the reader on the governance of MPAs, particularly in terms of chronicling the key Australian federal and state policy and legislation, the key actors involved in the process, and the differing perspectives of those groups affected by MPAs in Australia.
"...the book provides a valuable and absorbing window into some of the key governance challenges that those setting up MPA networks around the globe are likely to face."
Karen Alexander, Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs, 8(4), 2016, pp. 308-309

"I'll admit, my strengths lie in animal biology and physiology rather than conservation, but that is precisely why the book is so appealing - it offers the perfect opportunity to understand the real-world, practical foundations behind enacting marine conservation and the development of MPAs. Fortunately, you don't need a PhD or any university degree to understand the beautifully detailed concepts this book proposes... the book's structure, the topics covered, and the use of succinct and simple language make this book accessible to all."
Leonardo Guida, Wild Melbourne (blog), 29 November 2016


Paperback | July 2016 | $ 89.95
ISBN: 9781486301942 | 432 pages | 245 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour photographs, Illustrations, Maps

ePDF | July 2016
ISBN: 9781486301959
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | July 2016
ISBN: 9781486301966
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Authors explain and explore their experience in MPA development, allowing a reader to learn from the practitioner's real world experience.
  • Synthesis and overview chapters bring together some of these lessons from the case studies of practitioners and highlight the major successes and failures of various approaches.


Foreword (Tim Winton)
Foreword (Inger Andersen IUCN Director General, and Dan Laffoley, Chair of Marine, World Commission on Protected Areas of IUCN)
List of contributors

Part 1. Setting the international and national scene
Part 2. Australia’s marine protected area systems
Part 3. Key aspects of Australian marine protected areas
Part 4. Differing perspectives on Australian marine protected areas
Part 5. Synthesis

View the the full and more detailed table of contents.


James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation with The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program where he oversees the planning, policy and science of large-scale conservation initiatives. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University. He has previously worked for government and non-government organisations in conservation and protected area policy and has published widely in these fields.

Geoff Wescott is Associate Professor of Environment at Deakin University’s Melbourne Campus where he teaches and researches marine and coastal policy. He is the President of the Australian Coastal Society, a member of the Victorian Environment Assessment Council, a Director of Zoos Victoria and Chair of the Expert Panel preparing a new Marine and Coastal Act for Victoria. He is a previous Deputy Chair of Parks Victoria and member of the National Oceans Advisory Group. He has published over 170 books, chapters, technical papers, reports and popular articles.

Contributors: Daniel Beaver, Stuart Blanch, Simon Boag, Pepe Clarke, Peter Cochrane, Jon Day, Karen Edyvane, Lyn Goldsworthy, Caroline Hoisington, Vera Hughes, Miya Isherwood, Richard Kenchington, Lorne Kriwoken, Gilly Llewellyn, Adrian Meder, Peter Ogilvie, Paul Sheridan, Chris Smyth, Dermot Smyth, Mark Spalding, Romola R. Stewart, Erika J. Techera, Chris Thomas, Trevor J. Ward, Barry Wilson, Lynne Zeitlin Hale and Bob Zuur.