Consultation is now underway for a proposed marine park on the south coast of Western Australia as part of the State Government’s Plan for Our Parks initiative to create five million hectares of new national parks, marine parks and other conservation reserves by 2024. A marine park on the south coast was identified as a key component of this initiative.
The Western Australian Auditor General’s report on the Management of Marine Parks and Reserves noted that several bioregions (areas with distinct biological and physical characteristics) in WA, including the Eucla Bioregion, do not have marine protected areas, and that the South Coast Bioregion is under-represented in WA’s existing network of marine parks and reserves. There is currently only one marine park in State waters on the south coast – the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park (WNIMP). While the WNIMP provides protection for local habitats and biodiversity found within the only permanently open lagoonal estuary on the south coast, it does not extend into coastal waters.
The creation of a south coast marine park will ensure representation of the South Coast and Eucla Bioregions within WA’s network of marine parks and reserves, provide protection for important marine habitats and biodiversity and make a significant contribution to Australia’s National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (3.15MB PDF) , while allowing for ongoing sustainable use.
The proposed marine park will be jointly managed with traditional owners, who will be closely involved in the planning process. The marine study area under consideration extends from Bremer Bay eastward to the Western Australian border.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), will be consulting the commercial, recreational and charter fishing sectors, along with aquaculture, environmental groups, local government, traditional owners, tourism groups and the community. DBCA is now calling for stakeholders’ participation and is looking forward to hearing from the community about how they value and use the marine environment.
You can get involved in the consultation process in various ways and stay up to date by visiting https://www.dbca.wa.gov.au/south-coast-marine-park and signing up to the newsletter.
Photo credit: Southern right whales at Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park. Photo – Peter Nicholas/DBCA; Video credit: DBCA