- Final Community Reference Committee meeting held in Esperance
- Proposed South Coast Marine Park will rival Ningaloo and Great Barrier Reef
- Extensive consultation process ongoing with public comment period later this year
A new marine park for Western Australia’s south coast is a step closer, with Environment Minister Reece Whitby travelling to Esperance for the sixth and final formal meeting with key stakeholders.
The Community Reference Committee meeting involves commercial and recreational fishers, traditional owners, Government agencies as well as tourism and environmental groups. The process will soon move to the next phase of consultation with the wider public.
The proposed South Coast Marine Park will encompass more than 1,000 kilometres of coastline that will rival Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef.
Marine parks are created to help conserve habitats, biodiversity and cultural values, while allowing for a range of commercial and recreational activities including fishing, diving, boating and tourism in appropriate zones.
Less than one per cent of State waters on the south coast are currently protected as marine reserves.
Consultation began in September 2021, with a targeted program undertaken earlier this year involving dozens of one-on-one meetings. Information received during this planning process will help shape the proposed zoning scheme.
Western Australians will have an opportunity to comment on the draft management plan, which will include the proposed zoning scheme, when it’s released for a three-month public consultation period later this year.
As stated by Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
“We’re actively consulting with key stakeholders including commercial and recreational fishers as well as traditional owners. This is part of an extensive consultation process that is ongoing.
“I’d like to thank the members of the Community Reference Committee for their hard work and commitment over the past 18 months.
“We’re committed to working with commercial and recreational fishers to strike the right balance that will be accepted by the broader community.
“WA’s south coast is globally recognised for its diverse marine life. Our vision is for a world class marine park that rivals Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef.
“We need to work together to ensure the long-term sustainability of both commercial and recreational fishing experiences as well as protecting our marine ecosystems.”