This morning the Western Australian Government announced 600,000 hectares of new marine parks have just been created in the Kimberley region, co-designed and jointly managed with Traditional Owners.
It’s a part of the government’s Plan For Our Parks initiative to develop 5 million hectares of new national and marine parks and conservation areas over five years, with the three new parks lying within the Buccaneer Archipelago – a group of 1000 tiny islands north west of Derby.
The news brings that 5 million hectare goal of Plan For Our Parks to over a million hectares of conservation estate.
“This is a landmark day in protecting areas of conservation and cultural significance – with the new marine parks co-designed and jointly managed by Traditional Owners in a WA first,” said Premier Mark McGowan in a statement.
Following extensive consultation thanks to a joint effort between Traditional Owners and the Department Of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the park will consist of Bardi Jawi Gaarra, Mayala and Maiyalam marine parks.
Popular tourist destination Horizontal Falls lies within Lalang-garram part of the Maiyalam marine park.
A sector support package was also announced for impacted commercial, charter and recreational fishers will be established prior to the commencement of the new boundaries on July 1, 2023.
“It helps us as Traditional Owners to continue our life in our traditional customary way, to look after the resources that looked after us, to look after the environment that looked after us,” said Bardi Jawi Niimidiman Aboriginal Corporation Chair Kevin George.
“The sea means everything to us, the sea is our home, it’s got our resources. We have so much connection to the sea, what’s above the sea and what’s below. That’s why the marine park is very, very important to us as a people, as traditional people,” added Mayala Inninalang Aboriginal Director Janella Isaac.
Header Image: Shutterstock / alybaba