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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 August 2005

Call for comment on reef management plan


The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has invited comments on a new draft management plan for the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, off the NSW coast.

Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve is located about 150km north of Lord Howe Island off the NSW coast.

"A diverse range of species and ocean environments are found at Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs and it is vital that we protect them," Senator Campbell said.

“The reserve plays an important role in marine conservation and I encourage all those who use it, particularly the Lord Howe Island community, to put forward their views on the proposed management arrangements.”

The draft plan proposes protection within two zones of reefs – a Sanctuary Zone and a Habitat Protection Zone.

The Sanctuary Zone, which includes Elizabeth Reef as well as the surrounding waters, protects the rare black cod as well as other marine life. The draft plan proposes this area be closed to public access to protect these species.

The Habitat Protection Zone surrounding Middleton Reef will be available for public visitation, however a permit will be required for recreational fishing.

Rising from volcanic seamounts, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs are the southernmost open ocean platform reefs in the world and a meeting point for tropical and temperate ocean currents. The reefs are home to some unique marine species found nowhere else in the world.

The public comment period will run to 30 August 2005 and the director of national parks will consider all comments submitted during this period.

The new management plan will run for seven years, from 2005-2012.

Comments should be sent via email or in writing to The Assistant Secretary, Marine Conservation Branch, Department of the Environment and Heritage, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601 or mpa@deh.gov.au

The draft plan can be viewed at www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/elizabeth/index.html or by contacting the Community Information Unit, Department of the Environment and Heritage by email ciu@deh.gov.au or freecall 1800 803 772

Media Contact:

Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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