Conservation and environment groups have congratulated the WA Government on an important step towards the creation of a world-class conservation area in the Kimberley to be jointly managed with Traditional Owners.
The Horizontal Falls have been described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’ and are today one step closer to permanent protection with the release of draft plans for a new Lalang-garram / Horizontal Falls marine park and Oomeday National Park in a joint management partnership with the Dambimangari Traditional Owners.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said “The new national park is a recognition that the Kimberley is one of the world's environmental wonders that must be protected for future generations.
"We welcome the creation of eight new marine sanctuary zones in important areas of the marine park such as Turtle Reef, Walcott Inlet and the Glenelg River.
“We also congratulate Government and the Dambimangari Traditional Owners for the successful negotiations to jointly manage the new parks.
However, concerns remain with a missed opportunity to protect key species and establish a 'world class' conservation outcome.
“The Government has the opportunity to boost the Kimberley tourism brand by creating a world class marine park to match Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef however the draft plans fall short of that.
“There are other areas worthy of protection and we will be encouraging the Govenrment to include these in the final plan.
“We are also concerned that vulnerable and endangered species like sawfish and coastal dolphins will remain at risk from destructive commercial fishing such as trawling and gillnets within the marine park. One of our most pristine areas should not be put at risk for such limited commercial returns.”
Submissions to the new marine parks and national park will be open for three months.
CCWA will be encouraging supporters to get involved and aim to improve on the big gains for conservation already made in the draft plan – and create a world class marine park for Horizontal Falls.