The Wilderness Society has welcomed the announcement of not one but two new Marine Parks in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in the last week.
Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, announced in Broome on Tuesday that the Kimberley's iconic Horizontal Falls (pictured) and surrounding marine areas, including Walcott Inlet, will be protected as part of a large Marine Park (backing on to the recently created Camden Sound Marine Park) and a smaller land-based National Park. See map.
The protection of this area has been a long time coming. The Wilderness Society first campaigned for the protection of Walcott Inlet in the late 1980s, when Lord McAlpine was proposing a tourist resort on the eastern shore.
The level of protection, in real terms, offered by this new Marine Park will depend on how much of it ends up being classified as a 'Marine Sanctuary' (which excludes fishing, trawling, mining and other industrial activity). But, at the very least, this announcement puts an end to the prospect of copper mining close to Horizontal Falls.
In a wonderful 'double-whammy', the announcement came on Wednesday that a Marine Park at Western Australia's Eighty Mile Beach has also been approved. Our members and supporters helped generate more than 3000 submissions to support the new Eighty Mile Marine Park, more than a quarter of which will be protected as Marine Sanctuaries. See map.
Many thanks to all involved in helping to deliver these fantastic outcomes! They're a great step in the right direction, recognising that the Kimberley coast and its marine environment is one of the great natural wonders of the world.