The McGowan Government has established three new Kimberley marine parks in the Buccaneer Archipelago - with over a million hectares of conservation estate now created under the Plan for Our Parks initiative.
The parks consist of the Bardi Jawi Gaarra, Mayala and Maiyalam marine parks, which together total more than 600,000 hectares.
Maiyalam marine park has been amalgamated into the Lalang-gaddam marine park, along with the Lalang-garram (Camden Sound), Lalang-garram (Horizontal Falls) and North Lalang-garram marine parks on Dambeemangarddee sea country.
In a WA first, the parks have been co-designed and will be joint managed by Traditional Owners, alongside the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Traditional Owners have been living in these regions for tens of thousands of years, with the islands, reefs and intertidal systems home to many culturally important sites, and significant subsistence foraging and hunting habitats.
An extensive consultation and planning process was undertaken in the creation of the marine parks. The zoning will ensure that areas of conservation and cultural significance are protected.
A sector support package for impacted commercial, charter and recreational fishers will be established prior to the commencement of the new marine parks' boundaries on July 1, 2023.
The McGowan Government's Plan for Our Parks is creating five million hectares of new national parks, marine parks and other conservation reserves, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"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.
"My Government has now established over a million hectares of new conservation estates as we work to protect these unique environments for generations to come."
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
"This region is home to an array of unique corals, whales and dugongs that feed here. The natural and cultural significance of these areas is astounding.
"To mark one million hectares in the Plan for Our Parks initiative is a credit to all the work that has taken place with Traditional Owners."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti:
"The sea country we are protecting with the creation of these three marine parks is ensuring that cultural practises that have existed for thousands of years remain protected.
"The work Traditional Owners have done in co-designing the marine parks will ensure ongoing preservation of culturally significant areas."
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
"The McGowan Government is committed to supporting commercial and recreational fishers in the Kimberley, including fishing tourism operators.
"A sector support package will be developed with the community and the fishing sector to ensure the continuation of sustainable fisheries, high quality fishing experiences and support for local industries."
Comments attributed to Bardi Jawi Niimidiman Aboriginal Corporation Chair Kevin George:
"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.
"We have a duty of care, an obligation, to look after our country as well. It has been the wishes of our Elders of yesteryear who have left us with this saltwater country. We need to keep that healthy for our future generations."
Comments attributed to Mayala Inninalang Aboriginal Director Janella Isaac:
"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."
Comments attributed to Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation Deputy Chair Leah Umbagi:
"When we are on our own country we feel connected, we feel powerful, we feel rich because everything is around us.
"The marine park has given us protection of the country, which is good, and we're really grateful that we get that protection and our rights and our say on what's important to the country."