Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA

Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA

Minister for Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; Small Business

    Public invited to have their say on Abrolhos management plans

    21/02/2022 11:30 AM
     
    • Public consultation opens for six weeks on future management of Abrolhos Islands
    • Release of draft management plans supports better protection for the Abrolhos and sustainable tourism development
    • Complements planning for the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park created by the McGowan Government in 2019

    The McGowan Government has today invited public comment on draft management plans for the Abrolhos Islands Fish Habitat Protection Area and Abrolhos Reserve.

     

    The Houtman Abrolhos Islands consist of 210 islands off the State's Mid-West coast. Approximately 2,500 square kilometres of the archipelago's adjacent waters lie within a biodiverse Fish Habitat Protection Area (FHPA).

     

    The Abrolhos Reserve includes land currently leased and occupied by commercial rock lobster fishers and aquaculture operators. The reserve also includes the intertidal areas of all 210 islands.

     

    The McGowan Government is committed to ensuring the right balance of conservation and sustainable nature-based tourism and economic development for the biodiverse and culturally rich area.

     

    The draft management plans for the FHPA and the Abrolhos Reserve set out proposed management objectives and actions under six strategic priorities:

    • nature conservation and protection;
    • cultural heritage protection;
    • tourism;
    • sustainable fisheries and aquaculture;
    • Abrolhos community; and
    • governance.

    The plans also propose new land and marine-based zoning arrangements.

     

    The draft plans are now available for review on the public consultation page of the fish.wa.gov.au website. Submissions can be made online until 5pm on April 3, 2022.

     

    The Abrolhos Reserve management plans and the FHPA plans, which primarily cover the islands' waters, complement the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park draft management plan for the majority of land components of the islands, which was released for consultation in May 2021.

     

    Finalising the collective management plans in 2022 is a key step towards protecting the important values of the Abrolhos and enabling exciting opportunities across its land and waters.

     

    The draft management plans have been informed by the State Government's Houtman Abrolhos Islands Strategic Direction 2020-24, an independent stakeholder engagement process and a mooring review.

     

    Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

     

    "Collectively, the marine and island environment of the Abrolhos is unique and supports outstanding natural, cultural heritage, fishing and recreational values.

     

    "The draft management plan for the Fish Habitat Protection Area aims to ensure the protection of this important biodiverse marine area and the appropriate management of associated activities and marine-based infrastructure.

     

    "In the Abrolhos Reserve, the plan considers conservation, fishing, aquaculture and tourism and is focused on achieving the right balance of all these interests.

     

    "I encourage interested members of the community to take the opportunity to participate in this public comment process and have their say on the draft proposals that will shape the future of this exceptional part of WA."

     

    Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton:

     

    "The Abrolhos Islands are a local icon and getting the management plan right is crucial to ensure their protection for the future.

     

    "We must strike the right balance of access and protection to ensure the natural beauty and ecological health of the Abrolhos Islands is preserved, while allowing tourism, recreational fishing and commercial activities to continue.

     

    "I encourage everyone with a connection to the Abrolhos to have their say during the public consultation period."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 6900