Environment Minister Donna Faragher today announced the release of the Indicative Management Plan for the proposed Camden Sound Marine Park and invited public comment on how the park should be managed.
“The proposal for Camden Sound is one of four new marine parks to be created along the Kimberley coast, which will put Western Australia at the forefront of marine conservation,” Mrs Faragher said.
The Minister said the other proposed parks were North Kimberley, Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach.
“The areas selected for reservation as marine parks were identified through last year’s public consultation process for the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy,” she said.
“I announced the intent to establish a marine park in Camden Sound with the Premier last October, following strong community support for increased protection of the area.”
Mrs Faragher said the release of the Indicative Management Plan reflected the State Government’s commitment to implementing its bold vision for conservation in the Kimberley.
“Importantly, the current proposal for the Camden Sound Marine Park is almost twice the size originally envisaged by the Government and will be managed for multiple uses,” she said.
“The proposed park is 300km north of Broome and extends across more than 700,000ha.”
The Minister said the Indicative Management Plan for Camden Sound outlined strategies for conservation of one of the world’s biggest humpback whale nurseries and breeding areas.
“An area of approximately 168,000ha will be designated as a special purpose zone for whale conservation to enhance protection of an important calving ground and a vulnerable life stage for the calves,” she said.
“Visitors to this area will have to remain at least 500m from humpback mothers and calves and aircraft will have to maintain a minimum height of 1,650 feet.
“This provides for some of the most stringent whale interaction regulations in Australia.”
Mrs Faragher said other proposed zoning for the marine park were:
· sanctuary zones - two big ‘no-take’ sanctuaries extending across more than 93,600ha are proposed at the Champagny Island group and the Montgomery Islands reef. They contain a range of coral reef systems with diverse and abundant marine life
· special purpose zone (wilderness fishing) - a 41,200ha area surrounding the Montgomery Islands reef that will be accessible to recreational fishers, but commercial fishing will not be permitted. The zone allows for a restricted number of fish to be caught and consumed on site, but not taken away
· special purpose zone (pearling) - two areas covering a total of 57,700ha centred on Augustus Island and in a protected bay at Pyrene Island will be created to recognise pearling interests and the importance of this industry to the region while also providing for conservation outcomes
· general use zone - several areas including St George Basin and the western offshore and nearshore waters south of Hall Point will be for general use. These waters extend across more than 345,000ha.
“Commercial trawling will be excluded from the whale conservation zone, the sanctuary zones and the wilderness fishing zone,” the Minister said.
Mrs Faragher said in addition to humpback whales, Camden Sound had a wide range of species with special conservation status such as crocodiles, dugong, turtles and sawfish.
“The Sound also has spectacular habitats such as Montgomery Islands reef, fringing coral reef systems, rocky shoals, mangrove forests and links to the Prince Regent River,” she said.
“I invite people to have their say on how the park will be managed.”
The public submission period on the indicative management plan, which is available at http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/camdensound, ends on February 1, 2011.
Minister's office - 9213 7250