A new marine park will be established for the eastern and southern parts of the Exmouth Gulf, implementing historic conservation measures to safeguard this special part of Western Australia.
The Gulf is an important habitat for nursing humpback whales, whale sharks and other highly valuable mangrove systems.
Advice from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the fragility of the Exmouth Gulf and the increasing pressures faced on its unique and globally significant environmental, cultural and social values.
The marine park will be located within the existing Exmouth Gulf Managed Prawn Fishery designated nursery area. Local areas of significance will also be gazetted for establishment as Class A reserves such as Qualing Pool, Camerons Cave and the Gulf's islands.
The park is slated 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.
“It is excellent to see new protection announced by the State Government for Exmouth Gulf, building on the UNESCO Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area and neighbouring Ningaloo and Gascoyne marine parks” said Professor Jessica Meeuwig from UWA's Centre for Marine Futures.
“Exmouth Gulf is a critically important ecosystem but has been battered by commercial and recreational activities. A marine park has the potential to future-proof the Gulf by protecting fish populations and supporting the Gulf’s role in sequestering blue carbon”Professor Meeuwig
The McGowan Government plans to protect Exmouth Gulf and its surrounds with the final boundaries to 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 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” said Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson.