The McGowan Government has moved to protect Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds, implementing historic conservation measures to safeguard this special part of Western Australia.
A new marine park will be established for the eastern and southern parts of the Gulf, and Class A reserves will be gazetted for local areas of significance such as Qualing Pool, Camerons Cave and the Gulf’s islands.
These measures have been implemented following recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helping to preserve the region’s unique environmental and cultural values.
The EPA’s strategic advice identified that the Exmouth Gulf was fragile and faces increasing pressures on its unique, globally significant environmental, cultural and social values.
The Gulf is an important habitat for nursing humpback whales, whale sharks and other highly valuable mangrove systems.
The marine park will be located within the existing Exmouth Gulf Managed Prawn Fishery designated nursery area.
The final boundaries will be determined with further planning work led by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), with assistance from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).
The intention is for the park to be jointly managed, with Traditional Owners as partners. The marine park will make provisions for recreational fishing opportunities and for the continuation of existing low impact commercial fishing operations.
The marine park will complement the future creation of the adjoining Giralia National Park, which is proposed under the McGowan Government’s landmark Plan for Our Parks initiative.
The State Government will also take an integrated management approach to ensure the conservation and enhancement of the key values of Exmouth Gulf and surrounds through the establishment of a co-ordinating body.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“The Exmouth Gulf is a unique and incredibly valuable part of Western Australia which will now be protected for future generations.
“My Government is committed to conserving Western Australia’s environmental and cultural assets – with this new marine park and A class reserves set to safeguard precious local habitats and marine wildlife species.
“This is a historic milestone for the Exmouth Gulf and Western Australia’s efforts to maintain and enhance our unique natural environment.”
As stated by Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
“The Exmouth Gulf is unlike anything else in the world, it is globally recognised for its significant environmental, cultural and social values and it is clear these need to be protected and conserved.
“Exmouth Gulf is home to important habitat for nursing humpback whales, whale sharks and other highly valuable mangrove systems that deserve protection.
“The protection and integrated management of the Exmouth Gulf is a significant milestone in WA’s history and I am proud to see the McGowan Government continue to work hard for our environment.”
As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“This important marine park will be located within the existing Exmouth Gulf Managed Prawn Fishery designated nursery area and will coexist with the existing commercial fishing operations.
“The marine park and other protections announced today will ensure this beautiful and economically important area of our State continues to be enjoyed for generations to come.
“A co-ordinating body will be established to facilitate communication between key stakeholders, including recreational, charter and commercial fishers, to ensure there is a unified approach to the ongoing protection of the Exmouth Gulf.”