Natural and cultural values of the pristine Eighty Mile Beach will be better protected from today with the official creation of a new marine park announced by Environment Minister Bill Marmion.
Mr Marmion said the newly created Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park was a key component of the Liberal National Government’s $63million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.
“The announcement today follows on from yesterday's commitment to establish new Class A marine and national parks to provide the highest level of protection to the world-renowned Horizontal Falls at Talbot Bay in the Kimberley,” he said.
“It shows just how serious the Liberal National Government is about protecting one of the last great wildernesses - the Kimberley.
“Eighty Mile Beach is a popular destination for visitors to the Kimberley to enjoy fishing, camping, four-wheel driving and wildlife viewing.
“The new marine park extends throughout almost 210,000 hectares from about 30 kilometres west of Cape Keraudren in the south to 10 kilometres south of Cape Missiessy in the north-east.
“About 71 per cent of the marine park will be in general use zones, where commercial and recreational activities can occur. About a quarter of the park’s key habitats will be protected in sanctuary zones, while a further four per cent will be in recreational or special purpose zones where some activities will be restricted.
“Once again, the Liberal National Government has recognised the need to balance conservation with recreational and commercial use of the marine environment.
“Key fishing areas for the world-renowned South Sea Pearl industry have been kept open for pearlers, and recreational fishers will continue to have access to 75 per cent of the marine park, including the popular beach area adjacent to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park.”
The Minister said the new park included part of the internationally recognised Eighty Mile Beach Ramsar Site, which is listed as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It has extensive intertidal sand and mudflats that support a rich diversity and abundance of wildlife.
The marine park is also home to a number of other marine species and communities including sawfish, dugongs, dolphins, seagrass meadows, coral reefs and mangroves. It also contains significant Aboriginal cultural and heritage values.
The marine park will be jointly managed by the Traditional Owners, including the Karajarri, Nyangumarta and Ngarla people, and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
“I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Traditional Owners in developing the management arrangements for this marine park,” Mr Marmion said.
"For the first time in any marine park or reserve in Western Australia, new special purpose (cultural heritage) zones have been included in the zoning scheme. This represents a new phase in joint management of conservation reserves with Traditional Owners and will provide specific recognition for sites of high Aboriginal cultural significance.”
Park has 3 sanctuary zones, 1 recreation zone, 7 special purpose zones and 1 general use zone
$5.3 million across four years has been committed to DEC and DoF for establishing and managing the Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park, with ongoing funding of $1.4 million per year from 2014-15
Liberal National Government will protect the unique environment of the Kimberley region with investment of $63m in the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy to create State’s biggest interconnected system of marine and terrestrial parks
Minister’s office - 6552 6800