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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

7 February 2001

MARINE PROTECTION PLAN FOR MACQUARIE ISLAND MARINE PARK


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today released a draft management plan for the Macquarie Island Marine Park, located in the Southern Ocean some 1,500 kilometres south-south-east of Tasmania.

"The draft plan outlines the conservation values for which the Marine Park was established, the potential pressures on these values, and a management regime to ensure that these values are in fact protected," Senator Hill said.

"The waters of the Macquarie Island Marine Park are crucial foraging grounds for many animals that breed and nest on the island. The Marine Park protects pristine habitat for threatened species like the royal penguin, rockhopper penguin, subantarctic fur seal, southern elephant seal and five species of albatross, including the wandering albatross.

"The Park also includes the world's largest marine highly protected zone, although the size of the proposed Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve I announced last week will exceed this in area."

The draft management plan describes the management arrangements applying to the three zones making up the Marine Park. The central portion of 5.8 million hectares will be managed as a Highly Protected Zone, primarily for scientific research and environmental monitoring. Commercial activities such as fishing and petroleum and mineral exploration will not be allowed in this zone.

The northern and southern portions of the Marine Park, totalling 10.4 million hectares, will be managed as Habitat/Species Management Zones and will allow for commercial fishing activities under specific management arrangements.

The Marine Park, and the broader region, is of global significance for science and education due to its geological and bio-geographic characteristics. The marine habitats of the Marine Park are little known so fostering further scientific research will become an important focus of the plan's implementation. The Marine Park abuts Tasmania's Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and the Commonwealth plan will provide for complementary management of these adjoining marine areas.

Public comment on the draft plan closes on 30 March 2001. The draft plan is available from Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772, or on the Internet at: www.environment.gov.au/marine/marine_protected/macquarie/main.html

February 7, 2001

Note: Betacam footage is available by contacting EA public affairs: 02 6274 1076.
Media contacts: Belinda Huppatz (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
Environment Australia Robyn Bromley (02) 6274 2374

Map of the Location of the Macquarie Island Marine Park
Commonwealth of Australia