Public comment open on proposal for huge Kimberleys marine park

Image: Department of Parks and Wildlife

PUBLIC comment is being sought on Western Australia’s largest marine park – the 1.8 million hectare proposed North Kimberley Marine Park.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the proposed park would be the second largest State marine park in Australia behind the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and seven times the size of Ningaloo Marine Park.

Mr Jacob said its creation would be a significant milestone towards conserving the unique northern environment, while providing jobs and management opportunities for traditional owners and supporting growth in environmentally sustainable tourism.

“While this expansion is significant in its own right, it is the multiple benefits that flow from the new park that is most important,” he said.

“The creation of this park provides an exceptional conservation outcome as well as opportunities for growth in tourism.”

The proposed park will increase the total area of the State’s marine parks and reserves by more than 70 per cent.

With existing and proposed marine parks in the north Kimberley, these unspoilt coastlines and waters will form the Great Kimberley Marine Park and stretch from Horizontal Falls in the south, through Camden Sound and across to the Western Australian and Northern Territory border.

“It will protect a complex variety of marine habitats including unique and globally significant coral reefs, mangrove systems, mudflats and remarkable coastlines as well as dolphin, dugong, turtle and sawfish populations,” the Minister said.

“The park will be also rich in Aboriginal culture, with traditional owners having a strong cultural, spiritual and social connection to the area and continuing to practise customary activities.”

The State Government’s $81.5 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy is the largest ever targeted investment in the Kimberley.

The draft management plan is available here and is open for public comment until May 20, 2016.

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