Dedicated campaigning by WWF supporters has edged the striking Horizontal Falls one step closer to protection. Early in 2016 the Dambimangari Traditional Owners and Western Australian Government established the Lalang-garrum/Horizontal Falls and North Lalang-garrum marine parks totalling 3,000 square kilometres, and proposed the 160-square-kilometre Oomeday National Park.
This follows the quashing of a proposed copper mine near Horizontal Falls and rules out any further mining proposals at this popular tourist destination. It's great news, which will bolster the reputation of this world-class natural landscape and drive increased economic activity through tourism and the employment of Indigenous Rangers.
The new marine parks will create eight new marine sanctuaries, protecting unique coral reefs, inshore dolphins and dugongs. However, extraordinarily, the park omits humpback whales as a ‘high priority value’ and, in doing so, does not afford protection for the world’s largest humpback whale nursery.
This troubled more than 3,500 WWF supporters, who sent submissions to the WA Government arguing that the humpback whale nursery should receive the highest possible protection within the new marine park, courtesy of additional sanctuary zones. We also argued that dredging and dredge spoil dumping, seismic testing and gillnet fishing should be banned from all the marine parks. We’re currently awaiting a response from the government on its draft plan for protecting the whale nursery from future threats.
- The Kimberley coast is home to the largest humpback whale nursery in the world.
- Tens of thousands of visitors visit Horizontal Falls by sea plane each year.
- 100 marine scientists and the Kimberley tourism industry recently called for world-class marine protection for the Kimberley coast, which will require more sanctuary zones in the park.
TIMELINE OF ACTION
Currently waiting on a decision from the WA Government and Traditional Owners. We continue to put pressure on the Government.
Key date could be March 2017 (WA election).