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South-west Marine Region

Proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network - Consultation paper

Department of Sustainabiilty, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2011

The public consultation period on the South-west Commonwealth marine reserves network proposal is now closed.

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CONTENTS

  1. Overview
  2. How have the proposed marine reserves been identified?
  3. Integrating social and economic considerations into planning
  4. Proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network
  5. What activities are allowed in each of the reserves?
  6. Proposed marine reserves
  7. Next steps
  8. References and further reading

PREFACE

Australia has the third largest marine environment of any nation in the world. Just as precious environments on land are protected in national parks, our oceans contain many iconic, ecologically important and fragile places which deserve protection too. Much of our marine life is found nowhere else in the world. Our nation is home to an amazing diversity of marine environments, from the tropical seas of northern Australia to the depths of the Southern Ocean. We have a responsibility to keep our oceans healthy, resilient and productive for current and future generations.

Marine bioregional plans are being prepared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to improve the way decisions are made about the protection of marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of our ocean resources.

New Commonwealth marine reserves, also called marine protected areas or marine parks, are being identified through the marine bioregional planning process to meet the Australian Government's commitment, in partnership with the states and the Northern Territory, to establish a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore, that is, in state waters. The Commonwealth marine reserves will be established in Commonwealth waters. The creation of marine parks in state waters is being undertaken by the state governments. State waters also include a three nautical mile (5.5km) zone around islands and archipelagos.

This document has been prepared by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to present a proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network. It provides information to assist public consultation on the proposal.

This document also outlines the next steps involved in finalising the South?west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network and explains the opportunities for further stakeholder input.

This document is accompanied by additional information available on the department's website. Supporting maps, a detailed report, fact sheets and submission forms are available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html.

The proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network has been released concurrently with the draft South-west Marine Bioregional Plan, which is also available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html and is open for public comment.

1 OVERVIEW

Australia is a world leader in the development and management of marine reserves. These reserves exist to protect Australia's unique marine biodiversity for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. The Australian Government has committed to establishing a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, which will set aside and protect examples of the rich variety of Australia's marine ecosystems, from tropical coral reefs to temperate giant kelp forests, to the unique life forms that inhabit our deep oceans.

As part of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, the Australian Government is developing networks of marine reserves for each of the five large marine planning regions of the Commonwealth marine area (Figure 1.1). This area generally begins 3 nautical miles (5.5 kilometres) offshore at the edge of state waters, and extends to the edge of Australia's exclusive economic zone, 200 nautical miles from shore. More information about how the proposed new reserves have been developed is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html.

The marine reserve network will have no impact in state waters. The South-west Marine Region comprises the Commonwealth waters that stretch from the eastern end of Kangaroo Island in South Australia to Shark Bay in Western Australia. It covers approximately 1.3 million square kilometres of temperate and subtropical ocean, has many unique features, and is home to a large number of protected species and species that occur nowhere else in the world. This proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network includes extensive examples of the unique and rich biological diversity of the South-west Marine Region.

This document presents a proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network for public consultation. Comments received through the public consultation process will be taken into account in finalising the proposal. Once finalised, it will be subject to a 60 day statutory consultation process before the marine reserves are proclaimed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Figure 1.1 Australia's marine planning regions and existing Commonwealth marine reserves

Map showing Australia's marine planning regions and existing Commonwealth marine reserves

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

2 HOW HAVE THE PROPOSED MARINE RESERVES BEEN IDENTIFIED?

This proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network has been designed in accordance with the Goals and principles for the establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth waters (see Appendix A). The goals and principles provide direction to ensure that all types of marine ecosystems are represented within the national network of marine reserves, while minimising adverse socioeconomic impacts on people who use the marine environment.

The four goals provide guidance on the features to be included in the marine reserve networks.

Each regional network should include examples of:

The 20 principles guide the location, selection, design (shape, size) and zoning of the reserves.

3 INTEGRATING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS INTO PLANNING

The proposed network has been designed with the aim of meeting the reserve design goals and principles, while taking account of and seeking to minimise the potential impacts on industry and recreational uses. The Australian Government is committed to providing fair and reasonable assistance to those industries affected by greater marine protection.

The public consultation process will be used to clarify the potential impacts of the proposed marine reserve network on industry and other users. Initial analysis indicates the proposed marine reserves would displace fisheries catch worth approximately 1-2 per cent of the gross value of production of the region's fisheries; however, local displacement may have larger impacts for some fisheries.

To determine the extent of impact and the flow-on effects into regional communities, a socioeconomic assessment will be conducted in consultation with stakeholders and government agencies. The outcomes of the assessment, together with the submissions received about the proposed marine reserve network, will inform government decisions on the final network.

4 PROPOSAL FOR THE SOUTH-WEST COMMONWEALTH MARINE RESERVE NETWORK

The proposed marine reserve network covers an area of 538 000 kmイ. Eight new Commonwealth marine reserves are identified in the proposal (Figure 4.1):

Figure 4.1 Proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

Map showing Proposal for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

The proposed reserve network includes extensive examples of the different marine ecosystems found in the region. It also incorporates biologically important areas such as feeding, breeding and foraging habitats for unique and threatened species, including blue, southern right and humpback whales; white sharks; Australian sea lions; and birds such as the Australian lesser noddy.

A number of areas of high conservation value are covered by the proposed reserves, including the Commonwealth waters surrounding the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and the Recherche Archipelago, and the Perth Canyon. The Houtman Abrolhos Islands are an important seabird breeding site and are also recognised for high species diversity, important fish habitats and endemism (species that are found nowhere else). Perth Canyon is Australia's largest marine canyon, and recent research shows that it hosts one of the most significant aggregation sites of blue whales in the world. The Recherche Archipelago is the most extensive area of reef in the South-west Marine Region and is an important area for breeding colonies of Australian sea lions, fur seals and seabirds.

Pelagic ecosystems are included in the design of the proposed reserve network. Examples include the Leeuwin Current and the Cape Mentelle upwelling -deepwater areas of increased biological productivity that occur at regular intervals in the same location. Deep ocean floor ecosystems are also proposed for protection, including the Naturaliste Plateau and Diamantina Fracture Zone.

The proposed network achieves the four goals for the establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth waters by representing:

More information about the reserve network and its performance against the goals and principles are in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network, available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html.

5 WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE ALLOWED IN EACH OF THE RESERVES?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) sets out the legal framework for declaring and managing Commonwealth marine reserves. It requires that, upon proclamation of new Commonwealth marine reserves, each reserve and any area within it must be assigned to one of the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) internationally recognised set of seven protected area management categories. Schedule 8 of the Regulations under the EPBC Act outlines the Australian IUCN reserve management principles.

Three types of 'zones' (using two IUCN categories ) are proposed within the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network:

Table 5.1 Overview of proposed zoning scheme for the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

Activity Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI) Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI) Marine National Park Zone (IUCN Category II)
Recreational fishinga TickTickCross
Recreational scuba diving and snorkellingbTickTickTick
Research and monitoringbTickTickTick
Tourism, including dive/snorkel tours, nature watchingbTickTickTick
Mining, including petroleum exploration and developmentcTickTickCross
Shippingd TickTickTick
Charter fishinge TickTickCross
Offshore aquaculturee TickTickCross
Commercial fishing (except as indicated below)e TickTickCross
Demersal trawlCrossCrossCross
Demersal gillnetCrossTickCross
Demersal longlineCrossTickCross
a Recreational fishing is managed by the states. All state rules and regulations (e.g. size and bag limits)
will apply in Commonwealth marine reserves unless otherwise specified in statutory management plans
b Approval will be required for these activities (e.g. registration, general approval or individual permit) in Marine National Park Zones (IUCN Category II)
c As currently applies, individual project assessment and approval is required by the Director of National parks and under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as Commonwealth marine areas are protected as a matter of national environmental significance
d Ballast water exchange is managed under national arrangements. Restrictions may apply in sensitive areas.
e Approval will be required for these activities (e.g. registration, general approval or individual permit) in multiple use and special purpose zones

Further information on the Commonwealth zoning policy framework is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html


1 In 1998, the Australian Government and state and territory governments agreed to develop the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. In 2002, Australia joined other nations at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in committing to establish networks of representative protected areas within their maritime jurisdictions by 2012. For further information see www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mpa/nrsmpa

2 upwelling ・the phenomenon of deep ocean water rising to the surface, usually bringing nutrients that can increase biological productivity.

3 productivity (or biological productivity) ・the process through which algae and seagrasses transform inorganic nutrients into organic matter through photosynthesis. The process is at the basis of the ocean痴 food web, as phytoplankton and algae are consumed respectively by zooplankton and grazing organisms and these are in turn consumed by larger and larger predators. Nutrients rich waters promote and support productivity.

4 The provincial and meso-scale bioregions of the South-west Marine Region are identified in the Integrated Marine and Coastal Regionalisation of Australia version 4.0. There are 41 provincial bioregions around Australia. They are large areas with broadly similar characteristics classified by scientists based on the distribution of fish species and ocean conditions (e.g. temperate waters). The meso-scale bioregions and smaller scale bioregions identified on the continental shelf and are nested within provincial bioregions. Additional information such as the distribution of sponges, plant species, sea floor features and sediments was taken into account in identifying the meso-scale bioregions.

5 For further information see www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/pa/pa_products/wcpa_categories/

6 IUCN Categories ・categories based on the Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN ) in 1994. Under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999, a Commonwealth reserve must be assigned to a IUCN category at the time of proclamation. The EPBC Regulations prescribe the Australian IUCN Reserve Management Principles that apply to each of the seven IUCN categories. For more information, http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mpa/publications/pubs/iucn-principles.pdf

6 PROPOSED MARINE RESERVES

Name Proposed Abrolhos Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 80 210 km2
Depth range 20-5900 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important foraging areas for
    • - the threatened Australian lesser noddy
    • - several species of migratory seabirds
    • - the northernmost breeding colony of the threatened Australian sea lion
  • Important migration habitat for the threatened humpback whale
  • Examples of the northernmost ecosystems of the Central Western Province and South-west Shelf Transition
  • Examples of the deeper ecosystems of the Abrolhos Islands bioregion
  • Six key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - Commonwealth marine environment surrounding the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (high biodiversity, breeding and resting aggregations7)
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - demersal slope and associated fish communities of the Central Western Province (communities with high species diversity)
    • - meso-scale eddies8 (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - west-coast canyons (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - western rock lobster habitat (species with an important ecological role)
Existing uses Recreational fishing is a key activity around the Abrolhos Islands, mostly within the islands' state waters. Charter fishing is a growing activity in the area. Fisheries operating in the area are the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, Abrolhos Island Trawl Fishery, Commonwealth Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery, the West Coast Gillnet and Longline Fishery, the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery and the West Coast Deep Sea Crab Fishery. Other activities in this area include tourism, shipping and petroleum exploration.
Types of zoning proposed

Marine National Park (IUCN Category II)-3480 km2

Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI)-73 500 km2

Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI)-3230 km2

Adjacent protected areas Abrolhos Fish Habitat Protection Area (managed by the Department of Fisheries, WA)
a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

7 aggregations ・concentrations within a limited area of individuals of the same or different species; as in feeding aggregations; spawning aggregations, etc.
8 meso-scale eddies ・circular movements of water ・or whirlpools ・formed on the side of a main current, such as the Leeuwin Current. Meso-scale refers to their intermediate size (e.g. hundreds of kilometres).

Figure 6.1: Proposed Abrolhos Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Abrolhos Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Jurien Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 1880 km2
Depth range 30-650 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important foraging areas for
    • - the threatened soft-plumaged petrel
    • - several species of migratory seabirds
    • - the west-coast breeding colonies of the threatened Australian sea lion
    • - the threatened white shark
  • Important migration habitat for the threatened humpback whale
  • Examples of the ecosystems of two provincial bioregions: the central part of the South-west Shelf Transition (which includes the Central West Coast meso-scale bioregion) and small parts of the Central Western Province
  • Three key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - demersal slope and associated fish communities of the Central Western Province (communities with high species diversity)
    • - western rock lobster habitat (species with an important ecological role).
  • Heritage values represented by the SS Cambewarra historic shipwreck
Existing uses Recreational and charter fishing and tourism are important activities in this area. The majority of recreational fishing occurs in the adjacent coastal waters. Other uses in the area include shipping and petroleum exploration. The Yued Native Title claim extends into Commonwealth waters along the eastern length of the proposed reserve. The Western Rock Lobster Fishery operates across the continental shelf. Other fisheries include the state?managed West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery, and the West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline fisheries. The historic shipwreck of the SS Cambewarra, which sank in 1914, also lies within the boundaries of the proposed reserve.
Types of zoning proposed

Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI)

Adjacent protected areas Western Australian Jurien Bay Marine Park
a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.2: Proposed Jurien Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Jurien Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Perth Canyon Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 11 720 km2
Depth range 10-4800 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important foraging areas for
    • - the threatened soft-plumaged petrel
    • - several species of migratory seabirds
    • - the threatened Australian sea lion
  • Important seasonal feeding aggregations of four whale species, including the northernmost extent of seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale, foraging areas for the threatened blue whale and sperm whale, and the migration pathway for the threatened humpback whale
  • Examples of the ecosystems of the southernmost parts of the Central Western Province and South-west Shelf Transition (including the Central West Coast meso-scale bioregion), and the northernmost parts of the South-west Transition and Southwest Shelf Province (including the Leeuwin?Naturaliste meso-scale bioregion)
  • Six key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - demersal slope fish communities (communities with high species diversity)
    • - meso-scale eddies (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - Perth Canyon and other west-coast canyons (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - west-coast inshore lagoons (high productivity and aggregations of marine life)
    • - western rock lobster habitat (species with an important ecological role)
Existing uses A number of fisheries operate in this area, including the state-managed Western Rock Lobster, South West Inshore (managed) Trawl, Western Australian Abalone, West Coast Purse Seine and West Coast Deep Sea Crab fisheries; and the Commonwealth Western Tuna and Billfish and Western Deepwater Trawl fisheries. Recreational and charter fishing are also important, mainly near Rottnest Island, but extending to the head of the canyon. Other activities in the area include shipping, defence training and petroleum exploration.
Types of zoning proposed Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI)
Adjacent protected areas
  • Rottnest Island Reserve
  • Marmion Marine Park
  • The proposed reserve overlaps Western Australia's Metropolitan Fishing Zone

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.3: Proposed Perth Canyon Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Perth Canyon Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed South-west Corner Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 322 380 km2
Depth range 5-6400 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale
  • Foraging habitat for the threatened white shark, Australian sea lion, Indian yellow-nosed albatross and soft-plumaged petrel, and for several species of migratory seabirds
  • Biologically important areas for several whale species, including resting places for migrating threatened humpback whales, areas where sperm whales feed, and a migration route for threatened blue whales
  • Significant representation of three provincial bioregions: the South-west Transition and Southern Province in the off-shelf area, and the South-west Shelf Province on the continental shelf. The proposed reserve also represents the southern end of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste meso-scale bioregion and the western and central parts of the Western Australia South Coast meso-scale bioregion
  • Nine key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - Albany Canyon group (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - Cape Mentelle upwelling (high productivity)
    • - Commonwealth marine environment surrounding the Recherche Archipelago (high biodiversity, breeding and resting aggregations, including the most extensive areas of reef on the shelf within the South-west Marine Region)
    • - Commonwealth marine environment within and adjacent to Geographe Bay (high benthic productivity, high biodiversity, feeding, resting, breeding and nursery aggregations)
    • - Diamantina Fracture Zone (unique sea-floor feature likely to support deepwater communities characterised by high species diversity and endemism)
    • - meso-scale eddies (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - Naturaliste Plateau (unique sea-floor feature, likely to support deepwater communities characterised by high species diversity and endemism)
    • - western rock lobster habitat (species with an important ecological role)
Existing uses The area supports a number of fisheries, including the state-managed Western Rock Lobster, South Coast Crustaceans, Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline, West Coast Demersal Scalefish, West Coast Deep Sea Crab, South Coast Trawl, South-west Inshore (managed) Trawl, South Coast Purse Seine, and South Coast 'open access' fisheries,Western Australian Abalone Fishery, and the Commonwealth Western Deepwater Trawl and Western Tuna and Billfish fisheries. Recreational and charter fishing are important activities, but are mostly limited to state waters. Other activities include petroleum exploration, tourism and shipping.
Types of zoning proposed
  • Marine National Park (IUCN II)-249 180 km2
  • Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI)-47 150 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN VI)-26 050 km2
Adjacent protected areas State Capes Marine Conservation Reserve Proposal The proposed reserve overlaps the Great Australian Bight Trawl Deepwater Closure

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth marine reserve network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.4: Proposed South-west Corner Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed South-west Corner Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Eastern Recherche Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 19 240 km2
Depth range 5-5750 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale
  • Foraging habitat for the threatened white shark
  • Foraging habitat for breeding colonies of the threatened Australian sea lion and for several species of migratory seabirds
  • Examples of the sea-floor habitats and communities of the eastern end of the Southwest Shelf province and the Southern province
  • Three key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - meso-scale eddies (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • - Recherche Archipelago (high biodiversity, breeding and resting aggregations, including the most extensive areas of reef on the shelf within the South-west Marine Region)
Existing uses Recreational fishing and tourism are important, but mainly confined to state waters. The area supports a number of fisheries, including the Esperance Southern Rock Lobster and South Coast Trawl fisheries, and the Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fishery.
Types of zoning proposed
  • Marine National Park (IUCN II)-15 770 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN VI)-3470 km2
Adjacent protected areas The proposed reserve overlaps the Great Australian Bight Trawl Deepwater Closure

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.5: Proposed Eastern Recherche Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Eastern Recherche Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Great Australian Bight (extension)
Area 49 660 km2 (including the existing Great Australian Bight Reserve and 60 km2 extending into the South-east Marine Region)
Depth range 0-5750 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale at Head of Bight
  • Important foraging areas for
    • - the threatened Australian sea lion, including colonies along the Bunda Cliffs and at Nuyts Reef
    • - the threatened white shark
    • - the endangered blue whale
    • - the sperm whale
    • - the migratory short-tailed shearwater
  • Examples of the westernmost ecosystems of the Great Australian Bight Shelf Transition
  • Examples of the easternmost ecosystems of the Southern Province
  • Three key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - benthic invertebrate communities of the eastern Great Australian Bight (communities with high species diversity)
    • - areas important for small pelagic fish
Existing uses This area supports a number of fisheries, including the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery, Gillnet, Hook and Trap sector and the Great Australian Bight Trawl sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery; the Western Skipjack Tuna, and Western Tuna and Billfish fisheries; and the South Australian Marine Scalefish and Rock Lobster fisheries. Important Indigenous heritage values exist within the proposed reserve. The Far West Coast Native Title claim extends into Commonwealth waters along the northern length of the proposed reserve. Other uses include petroleum exploration. Recreational and charter fishing are mostly confined to state waters.
Types of zoning proposed
  • Marine National Park (IUCN Category II)-3850 km2
  • Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI)-22 680 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI)-23 130 km2
Adjacent protected areas South Australian Far West Coast and Nuyts Archipelago state marine reserves

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth marine reserve network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.6: Proposed Great Australian Bight (extension) Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Great Australian Bight (extension) Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Western Eyre Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 51 220 km2 (10 510 km2 of which extends into the South-east Marine Region)
Depth range 20-5750 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale
  • Important foraging areas for the
    • - threatened Australian sea lion, including major colonies at Streaky Bay, the Investigator group of islands and Nuyts Archipelago
    • - threatened white shark
    • - endangered blue whale
    • - sperm whale
    • - migratory seabirds, short-tailed shearwater and Caspian tern
  • Examples of the westernmost ecosystems of the Spencer Gulf Shelf Province (including the Eyre meso-scale bioregion) and the easternmost ecosystems of the Great Australian Bight Shelf Transition (including the Murat meso?scale bioregion)
  • Examples of the easternmost ecosystems of the Southern Province
  • Five key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - Kangaroo Island Pool, canyons and adjacent shelf break, and Eyre Peninsula upwelling (high productivity, breeding and feeding aggregations)
    • - meso-scale eddies (high productivity and feeding aggregations)
    • - benthic invertebrate communities of the eastern Great Australian Bight (communities with high species diversity)
    • - areas important for small pelagic fish
Existing uses The area supports a number of fisheries, including the South Australian Rock Lobster and Sardine fisheries and the Commonwealth Gillnet, Hook and Trap sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Other fisheries include the South Australia Marine Scalefish Fishery, Sounth Australian Abalone Fishery, Commonwealth Great Australian Bight Trawl sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, and Commonwealth Small Pelagic and Western Skipjack Tuna fisheries. Other activities in the area include petroleum exploration and some charter and recreational fishing.
Types of zoning proposed
  • Marine National Park (IUCN Category II)-13 650 km2
  • Multiple Use Zone (IUCN Category VI)-14 340 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI)-23 230 km2
Adjacent protected areas
  • South Australian Investigator, West Coast Bays and Nuyts Archipelago state marine reserves

The proposed reserve overlaps the

  • Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Gillnet, Hook and Trap sector dogfish closures
  • Great Australian Bight Trawl Deepwater Closure

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.7: Proposed Western Eyre Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Western Eyre Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

Name Proposed Western Kangaroo Island Commonwealth marine reserve
Area 1930 km2
Depth range 40-150 m (approx.)
Major conservation valuesa
  • Important seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale
  • Important foraging areas for the
    • - threatened Australian sea lion
    • - threatened white shark
    • - endangered blue whale
    • - sperm whale
    • - migratory seabirds, short-tailed shearwater and Caspian tern
  • Examples of the southernmost ecosystems of the Spencer Gulf Shelf Province (including the Eyre meso-scale bioregion)
  • Two key ecological features are included within the proposed reserve
    • - ancient coastline (high productivity)
    • - Kangaroo Island Pool, canyons and adjacent shelf break, and Eyre Peninsula upwelling (high productivity, breeding and feeding aggregations)
Existing uses The area supports a number of fisheries, including the South Australian Rock Lobster, Sardine, Marine Scalefish and Abalone Fisheries, and the Commonwealth Gillnet, Hook and Trap sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Recreational and charter fishing occur in the area, mostly within state waters. Other activities in the area include tourism and petroleum exploration.
Types of zoning proposed Special Purpose Zone (IUCN Category VI)
Adjacent protected areas South Australian Western Kangaroo Island state marine protected area

a A full list of the conservation values included in the reserve is in the detailed analysis of the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html

Figure 6.8: Proposed Western Kangaroo Island Commonwealth marine reserve

Map showing Proposed Western Kangaroo Island Commonwealth marine reserve

The marine reserve network will have no impact in the area from the coastline out to three nautical miles (5.5km) from shore. It applies to Commonwealth waters only.

7 NEXT STEPS

7.1 Assessing the socioeconomic impacts

A socioeconomic impact assessment will be conducted in consultation with industry and relevant government agencies during the public consultation period. The outcomes of the assessment, an associated regulatory impact statement and the submissions received during the public consultation period will inform the government in finalising the network.

The Goals and principles for the establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth waters underscore the importance of designing the marine reserves in a way that meets conservation objectives, while minimising social and economic impacts. Consultation is critical in developing the Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network, for three important reasons:

Commercial fishing is the sector most likely to be affected by the proposed network as it is widespread across the region. Initial analysis indicates that the proposed network would displace fisheries catch worth approximately 1-2 per cent of the gross value of production of the fisheries in the region.

The proposed marine reserve network has been designed to avoid the areas of highest use and value to the commercial fishing industry. However, of the 24 fisheries operating in the region, 16 fisheries may be affected. Of these 16 fisheries, 3 fisheries may experience significant displacement of fishing effort-the Southwest Inshore Trawl Fishery, the Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Longline Fishery, and the West Coast Demersal Gillnet and Longline Fishery. The extent of displacement in some other state fisheries is unclear due to the large size of fisheries reporting grids; however, based on information from fisheries managers about the extent of their operations in Commonwealth waters, the impact is thought to be low. The Government has released a Fisheries Adjustment Policy to support the creation of new Commonwealth marine reserves.

The proposed network is not understood to overlap with important recreational sites, except for the Perth Canyon, where it is zoned so that recreational activities may continue. The effects of the reserve network on recreational boating and fishing interests have also been assessed by determining the proportion of marine national park within a 40 nautical mile radius from each significant port or marina. The proposed network is estimated to allow access to 98 per cent of the total area of interest to recreational fishers in the region. Based on publicly available information, minimal displacement is expected for the charter fishing sector as a result of the proposed marine reserve network.

Based on publicly available information, minimal displacement is expected for the charter fishing sector as a result of the proposed marine reserve network.

The proposed network intersects with two native title claims; however, no reduction of native title rights is expected as a result of the overlap.

Nine petroleum exploration leases and one acreage release overlap with the proposed network. Multiple use or special purpose zoning is proposed where these overlaps occur. As it's currently the case, petroleum exploration and extraction activities will be subject to approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Shipping will not be affected by the reserve network it will be allowed in all zones.

7.2 Finalising the network and declaration

The process for finalising the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network includes several opportunities for the public to contribute:

7.3 Have your say

The release of the proposal for a South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network marks the start of the formal public consultation period on both the draft reserve network and the draft South-west Marine Bioregional Plan. Stakeholders will have 90 days in which to submit comments on both the proposed network and the draft plan.

Stakeholder information sessions will be held to ensure the public has an understanding of the reserves and the potential implications for the community, and to outline areas where the department is seeking feedback on the proposed reserve network. An important objective of the consultation period is to obtain and refine information for a detailed socioeconomic analysis.

Public participation will assist the government in more fully understanding the likely benefits and potential impacts of the proposed reserves, and in avoiding unnecessary costs to communities and businesses affected by the proposed new reserves, and to society as a whole.

The department invites public feedback on the proposed marine reserve network and draft South-west Marine Bioregional Plan. There are three ways to submit feedback:

Further details about the stakeholder consultation process and opportunities to be involved are available at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/south-west/index.html. The website also contains fact sheets on specific items of interest and answers to a number of frequently asked questions. If you have any questions about how to make a submission or on any other aspects of the marine bioregional planning process please email Southwest.MarinePlan@environment.gov.au or phone 1800 069 352.

Figure 7.1 Finalising the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

Diagram showing steps involved in Finalising the South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network

8 REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council Task Force on Marine Protected Areas 1998, Guidelines for establishing the national representative system of marine protected areas, Environment Australia, Canberra, viewed March 2011, www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mpa/publications/nrsmpa-guidelines.html.

Department of the Environment and Water Resources 2007, Goals and principles for the establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth waters, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Canberra, viewed March 2011, www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/publications/general/goals-nrsmpa.html.

Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia Technical Group 1998, Interim Marine and Coastal Regionalisation for Australia: an ecosystem-based classification for marine and coastal environments, Environment Australia, Canberra.

APPENDIX A

Goals and principles for the establishment of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas in Commonwealth waters

Goal 1 - Each bioregion occurring in the Region should be represented at least once in the MPA network.Priority will be given to bioregions not already represented in the National Representative System.

Goal 2 - The MPA network should cover all depth ranges occurring in the Region or other gradients in light penetration in waters over the continental shelf.

Goal 3 - The MPA network should seek to include examples of benthic/demersal biological features (e.g. habitats, communities, sub-regional ecosystems, particularly those with high biodiversity value, species richness and endemism) known to occur in the Region at a broad sub-provincial (> 100s of kilometres) scale.

Goal 4 - The MPA network should include all types of seafloor features. There are 21 seafloor types across the entire Exclusive Economic Zone. Some bioregions will be characterised by the presence of a certain subset of features, such as continental slope or seamounts.

In developing options that meet the four goals, the following location principles will be applied:

  1. MPAs will be located taking into account the occurrence and location of existing spatial management arrangements (e.g. existing protected areas and sectoral measures) that contribute to the goals.
  2. The goals should be met with the least number of separate MPAs (i.e. a smaller number of larger MPAs rather than many small MPAs) to maximise conservation outcomes.

Where different options that meet the goals exist, the following selection principles should be considered in selecting areas suitable for inclusion in the National Representative System of MPAs:

  1. The capacity of an MPA to mitigate identified risks to conservation values.
  2. The occurrence of spatially defined habitats for and/or aggregations of threatened and/or migratory species.
  3. The occurrence of ecologically important pelagic features which have a consistent and definable spatial distribution.
  4. The occurrence of known small-scale (tens of kilometres) ecosystems associated with the benthic/demersal environment.
  5. Relevant available information about small-scale distribution of sediment types and sizes and other geo-oceanographic variables.
  6. Occurrence of listed heritage sites (where inclusion in the MPA network would improve administration of protection regimes).
  7. Socio-economic costs should be minimised.

Once the broad location of MPAs has been determined, the following design principles should be applied to further refine the size and shape of individual MPAs:

  1. Individual areas should, as far as practicable, include continuous depth transects, (e.g. from the shelf to the abyss).
  2. Whole seafloor (geomorphic) features should be included.
  3. Features should be replicated wherever possible within the system of MPAs, (i.e. included more than once).
  4. Size and shape should be orientated to account for inclusion of connectivity corridors and biological dispersal patterns within and across MPAs.
  5. Boundary lines should be simple, as much as possible following straight latitudinal/longitudinal lines.
  6. Boundary lines should be easily identifiable, where possible coinciding with existing regulatory boundaries.
  7. The size and shape of each area should be set to minimise socio-economic costs.

The following zoning principles will be applied in developing the regional systems of MPAs:

  1. Zoning will be based on the EPBC Act/The World Conservation Union (IUCN) categories of protection.
  2. The regional MPA network will aim to include some highly protected areas (IUCN Categories I and II) in each bioregion.
  3. Zoning will be based on the consideration of the risk that specific activities pose to the conservation objectives of each MPA.
  4. Zoning of MPAs will seek to ensure that the conservation objectives of the area are protected, taking into account a precautionary approach to threats as well as the relative costs and benefits (economic, social and environmental) of different zoning arrangements.

MAP DATA SOURCES

MPA document:

  1. DEC, WA (2010): Western Australian Marine Conservation Reserve Tenure and Management Boundaries.
  2. DEH, SA (2010): South Australian Marine Parks Network (Boundaries).
  3. DSEWPaC (2011): Proposed Commonwealth Marine Reserves in the South-west Marine Planning Region.
  4. DSEWPaC (2010): Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD).
  5. DSEWPaC (2007): Australia, World Heritage Areas.
  6. DSEWPaC (2007): Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas Managed by DSEWPaC.
  7. DSEWPaC (2006): Commonwealth Marine Planning Regions.
  8. Geoscience Australia (2006): Australian Maritime Boundaries (AMB) v2.0.
  9. Geoscience Australia (2005): Australian Bathymetry and Topography.
  10. Geoscience Australia (2003): Australia, TOPO-2.5M Topographic Data.

S176 maps:

  1. DSEWPaC (2011): Key Ecological Features in the South-west Marine Planning Region.
  2. DSEWPaC (2011): Biologically Important Areas in the South-west Marine Planning Region.
  3. DSEWPaC (2011): Species of National Environmental Significance Database.
  4. DSEWPaC (2007): Australia, World Heritage Areas.
  5. DSEWPaC (2007): Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas Managed by DSEWPaC.
  6. DSEWPaC (2006): Commonwealth Marine Planning Regions.
  7. DSEWPaC (2010): Historic Shipwrecks Register.
  8. Geoscience Australia (2006): Australian Maritime Boundaries (AMB) v2.0.
  9. Geoscience Australia (2005): Australian Bathymetry and Topography.
  10. Geoscience Australia (2004): Gazetteer of Australia.
  11. Geoscience Australia (2003): Australia, TOPO-2.5M Topographic Data.