Southern right whales at Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park. Photo - Peter Nicholas/DBCA
Southern right whales at Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park. Photo - Peter Nicholas/DBCA

A proposed marine park is being considered for WA's south coast. A study area stretching from Bremer Bay eastward to the South Australian border, and offshore to the limit of State waters has been identified. The marine park's location and indicative boundary will be developed within this area as part of the consultation process. A map of the study area can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

The proposed park will ensure the south coast's unique ecological and cultural heritage values are protected, while allowing commercial, recreational and charter fishing in appropriate zones.

It is intended that the proposed south coast marine park will be jointly managed between DBCA and the area’s Traditional Owners. DBCA also works closely with other State Government agencies, such as the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, which manages fishing in WA marine reserves

The creation of a south coast marine park will make a significant contribution to WA’s current network of marine reserves and Australia’s National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.

 

Background

In 2019 the State Government announced Plan for Our Parks, an initiative to create five million hectares of new national parks, marine parks and other conservation reserves by 2024. A marine park on the south coast was identified as a key part of this initiative.

The Western Australian Auditor General’s report on the Management of Marine Parks and Reserves noted that several bioregions (areas with distinct biological and physical characteristics) (PDF 3.23MB, opens in Parks Australia website) in WA, including the Eucla Bioregion, do not have marine protected areas, and that the South Coast Bioregion is under-represented in WA's existing network of marine parks and reserves. There is currently only one relatively small marine park in State waters on the south coast - the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park (WNIMP).  While the WNIMP provides protection for local habitats and biodiversity found within the only permanently open lagoonal estuary on the south coast, it does not extend into coastal waters.

The creation of a south coast marine park will ensure representation of the South Coast and Eucla Bioregions within WA’s network of marine parks and reserves, provide protection for important marine habitats and biodiversity and make a significant contribution to Australia's National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (PDF 3.15MB), while allowing for ongoing sustainable use.

Community engagement and information sessions

Local community input and knowledge is crucial to the planning of the proposed south coast marine park. We welcome your participation.

We look forward to hearing from the community about how they value and use their marine environment. You can be involved in the planning process in various ways. The picture below will help you decide when you would like to participate in the process and the ways you can be involved. 

Community Involvement Chart

The State Government has also released a media statement on consultation for the proposed south coast marine park.

Community Engagement Strategy

A Community Engagement Strategy (CES) has been created with key stakeholder and community input. This document will give you a more in depth look at the community engagement that DBCA is planning to undertake. Download the Proposed South Coast Marine Park Community Engagement Strategy (PDF 2.98MB).

DBCA has committed to undertake an internal review of the adequacy of the Community Engagement Strategy by March 2022.

Community information sessions

DBCA and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) hosted a series of local community information sessions between 11–17 October 2021 regarding the south coast marine park proposal.

The purpose of these sessions was to provide information to local communities and stakeholders about the south coast marine park proposal, including the current status of the marine park, why a marine park has been proposed for the south coast; how community members and stakeholders can be involved during the planning process and to also hear directly from the community about any concerns they had

Download the presentation from the community information sessions (PDF 12.3MB).

Community Reference Committee

A large number of high quality nominations were received for the Community Reference Committee. A 12 member committee (PDF 106KB) has now been appointed by the Minister for Environment, to be chaired by Hon Francis Logan. Committee members were chosen based on their local knowledge, expertise and experience relevant to the south coast; their communication skills and ability to represent the broad interests of the local community; their ability to consider information and work constructively and collaboratively to provide balanced advice; and their commitment to Committee membership for the duration of the marine park planning process, from late 2021 to late 2023.

Download the Terms of Reference for the Community Reference Committee (PDF 204KB).

Sector Advisory Groups

Sector Advisory Groups (SAGs) will be comprised of representatives from various interest groups across the local community (i.e. science, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, tourism/commercial operators, conservation, industry, water sports, local government, etc.). SAGs will provide advice from their respective sectors to the Community Reference Committee, DBCA and traditional owners throughout the planning process. DBCA will shortly be contacting a range of groups to request that they lead a SAG for their sector.

For more information on how to nominate or join a SAG, download the SAG Guidelines (PDF 577KB).

Review of areas identified for the proposed marine park

During initial engagement with stakeholders and local communities on the south coast in March 2020, DBCA used the areas recommended by the Marine Parks and Reserves Selection Working Group in their 1994 report, A Representative Marine Reserve System for Western Australia (Wilson Report), as a starting point for helping to determine the location for the proposed south coast marine park (PSCMP). Download the Wilson Report (PDF 17.9MB).

Given the age of the Wilson Report and following feedback from stakeholders and local communities, DBCA commissioned an independent review of the south coast areas, east of Albany, recommended for marine park reservation in the Wilson Report.

The aim of the review was to update information regarding the biodiversity, habitats and geomorphology for each of the recommended areas based on the most current scientific literature, as well as provide recommendations about whether other areas not identified in the Wilson Report should be considered for marine park reservation.

The findings from the review confirmed the relative ecological importance of the south coast areas identified in the Wilson Report for marine park reservation and this information will be used to help determine an indicative boundary for the PSCMP. Download the Carijoa report 'A review of the south coast marine environment and proposed areas for state marine reservation between Albany and Eucla, Western Australia' (PDF 6.23MB). 

Frequently asked questions

Do you still have questions about how marine parks work and the proposed south coast marine park? Visit our frequently asked questions page.

 

Subscribe to Proposed South Coast Marine Park News

DBCA, together with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), will be issuing regular newsletter updates on the marine park planning process and the opportunities for the community to be involved. Register below to receive the newsletter.

Issue 1, September 2021

Issue 2, October 2021


Page reviewed 30 Nov 2021