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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
25 September 2002
The Commonwealth Government has fulfilled its pledge to develop management plans for all Commonwealth parks and reserves with the release today of the Lord Howe Island (Commonwealth Waters) Marine Park Management Plan.
Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp said that the Commonwealth Government now has statutory management plans in place to protect all 20 of the Commonwealth’s parks and reserves which includes some of Australia most significant natural wonders, including Kakadu and Uluru National Parks, the Great Australian Bight and Ashmore Reef.
This completes a process that the Howard Government begun when it came into power in 1996 and makes up for years of Labor neglect.
“Labor neither had the ability or the energy to complete this work, instead relying on rhetoric and sentiment to give the impression that they were taking action on the environment,” Dr Kemp said.
“This latest management plan will help to protect the unique and vulnerable ecosystems of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters), which is located off the coast of New South Wales.”
Lord Howe Island is home to a large number of species associated with the seamount ecosystem which are not found anywhere else in the world. These species include the longfinned leather jacket and frill goby – two of the 15 endemic fish species found around the Island. The Island waters are also home to at least 500 other species of marine fish.
The reef surrounding the island is the most southerly true coral reef in the world and provides a rare example of the transition between coral and algal reefs.
“The Plan has been developed in consultation with the local community and other stakeholders and will help to ensure that the Island’s natural resources can be managed in a sustainable manner. It will also protect Lord Howe Island’s incredible seamounts, home to a unique blend of tropical and temperate fauna and flora, while allowing the community’s traditional lifestyle to continue, ” Dr Kemp added.
“The Commonwealth marine park will extend protection to the deeper water environments and will complement the existing State marine park and World Heritage Area.
“The Lord Howe Island Marine Park Management Plan will help protect the Park for the next seven years, and is an excellent example of the Howard Government’s commitment to the long-term management of our marine parks.”
In response to strong public support, the Plan divides the Park into three zones: a habitat protection zone, which allows approved methods of fishing, and two sanctuary zones. The sanctuary zones will be managed primarily for scientific research and environmental monitoring, with the primary objective being to protect a representative sample of the shelf, slope and deepwater environment. Fishing and mining operations will not be permitted in the sanctuary zones.
The group of islands in the Lord Howe region are all remnants of a large immersed volcano, which rises more than 2000m above the seabed. Due to its distance from any large landmass, Lord Howe’s marine ecosystem is in a largely undisturbed, natural state. The island was declared a World Heritage site in 1982 for its rare collection of plants, birds and marine life and exceptional natural beauty.
Visit the Environment Australia website for a copy of the plan, http://www.ea.gov.au/coasts/mpa/lordhowe/index.html or call the Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400