CCG Submission to the Draft Management Plan for the North Kimberley Marine Park

Executive Summary

On the 16 February 2016, Traditional Owners and the Western Australian Government released the indicative joint management plan for the proposed North Kimberley Marine Park for public comment.

This submission offers six priority A recommendations and five priority B recommendations for establishing a world-class marine park in the North Kimberley. The recommendations are based on world’s best practice in marine park planning and the expert opinion of the Centre for Conservation Geography (CCG). The Centre for Conservation Geography presents these findings for consideration by Traditional Owners, the Western Australian Government and other decision-makers in the planning process.

 

Key Findings

 

Major achievements of the draft plan: the indicative joint management plan represents a very significant step forward for the protection of cultural heritage and marine life of the Kimberley. It contains a number of intelligent and forward-thinking proposals to protect key values and provide long-term regional infrastructure for tourism and recreation.

Recommended Improvements:

The Centre for Conservation Geography offers six priority A recommendations and five priority B recommendations to change the bias of the marine park zoning away from general use zones and towards sanctuary zones and special purpose (recreation and conservation) zones. This change in emphasis would have the following benefits:

  1. It would better reflect the economic and social reality that mining, trawling and gillnetting (destructive activities incompatible with the natural and cultural values of the North Kimberley Marine Park) provide less than 1% of the current economic and social value generated within the boundaries of the marine park. In this context, allocating two thirds of the marine park to maintaining or increasing these activities is inappropriate.
  2. It would increase the protection of the natural and cultural values of the Kimberley to a genuinely world-class standard. Current proposals leave almost 80% of the North Kimberley Marine Park, 90% of Kimberley coastal waters and 80% of the Great Kimberley Marine Park open to degradation by mining and/or fishing. This is not the right balance between exploitation and protection, and is well below what is required for a world-class marine park.  A substantial increase in the area covered by sanctuary zones is needed to meet the minimum standards for protection recommended by local scientists and the international community.
  3. It would provide better infrastructure for maintaining and enhancing visitor and community experiences in the Kimberley. The high level of general use zones and the low level of protection provided by special purpose (cultural heritage) zones leaves a number of key locations for tourism and recreation open for degradation by trawling, gillnetting or mining. A greater number of key tourism sites should use a mix of sanctuary zones and special purpose zones to protect key natural and cultural values, diversify visitor experiences and enhance recreational fishing and community-use experiences.

Priority A changes: the Centre for Conservation Geography submits six changes as critical to meeting the strategic objectives of the North Kimberley Marine Park and establishing a world-class marine park.

Priority B changes: the Centre for Conservation Geography submits five additional changes as important to meeting the strategic objectives of the North Kimberley Marine Park and establishing a world-class marine park.

Report: 
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CCG Submission to the Draft Management Plan for the North Kimberley Marine Park

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