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Ningaloo Marine Park
The Ningaloo Marine Park is a multiple-use Marine Park that stretches approximately 300 km along the west coast of the Cape Range Peninsula near Exmouth, Western Australia – from Bundegi in the north to Red Bluff in the south. The Marine Park, which includes the only example in the world of extensive fringing coral reef on the west coast of a continent (i.e. Ningaloo Reef), provides habitat for a diverse range of marine species - over 200 species of corals, over 460 species of reef fish, as well as healthy populations of marine turtles, manta rays, sharks, whale sharks, dugongs, dolphins, and whales.
The Ningaloo Marine Park consists of both State and Commonwealth Waters, which are declared under Western Australian and Commonwealth legislation. The combined State and Commonwealth Waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park cover a total area of 5070 km2.
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Ningaloo Marine Park Governance
Despite the multiple government agency involvement in the legislation of the Ningaloo Marine Park, the day-to-day management of the Ningaloo Marine Park is undertaken by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), with the Western Australian Department of Fisheries (Fisheries) responsible for all matters relating to fishing.
|State Waters||Commonwealth Waters|
|1987||260 km of State Waters declared a Marine Park by the Western Australian Government – April 1987.||Commonwealth Waters declared a Marine Park by proclamation under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 - May 1987.|
|1992||Commonwealth Waters boundaries amended to include the second stage of the Marine Park - July 1992.|
|2004||Marine Park southern boundary extended from Amherst Point to Red Bluff – totalling 300 km of Ningaloo Reef into Marine Park.|
Multiple-use Marine Park
Like most Marine Parks in Western Australia, the Ningaloo Marine Park is a multiple-use Marine Park that caters for a wide range of activities. Multiple-use Marine Parks reflect a balanced approach to conserving the environment by providing a management framework to ensure human usage does not cause significant or long term damage. Zoning is an important part of the management framework in multiple-use Marine Parks, in that it helps to manage and protect the values of the Marine Park that users enjoy.
What is zoning?
Marine Park zoning is an important component in managing marine areas because a healthy and productive Reef means substantial economic benefits to local communities and the wider economy.
As such, zoning is a key strategy for improving the health and resilience of Ningaloo Reef. The zoning plan defines what activities can occur in which locations in order to protect the marine environment and to separate potentially conflicting activities.
In its simplest form, zoning defines the activities that can occur in particular locations. The level of protection increases from the General use (light blue) zones up to the most restrictive Sanctuary (green) zones. Each zone has different rules for the activities that are allowed, the activities that are prohibited, and the activities that require a permit.
Within the Ningaloo Marine Park (State Waters) there are currently five different types of zones (zoning map).
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What are the benefits of zoning in the Ningaloo Marine Park?
The Ningaloo Marine Park Zoning Plan better protects the biodiversity within the Marine Park and helps ensure:
- The continued existence of the unique marine animals, plants and habitats that are found along the Ningaloo Coast, and provide additional protection for threatened species such as dugong and marine turtles.
- Those industries that rely on the health of the Marine Park are able to continue, providing social and economic benefits to local communities and the wider economy.
- That a diverse range of other benefits and values of the Marine Park, including recreational, cultural, educational and scientific values are protected.
- That future generations are able to continue to use and enjoy the Marine Park.
Fishing in the Ningaloo Marine Park