Ningaloo Coast Gains World Heritage Listing

Ningaloo Coast Gains World Heritage Listing

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Western Australia Minister for Environment Bill Marmion

WA Welcomes Ningaloo Coast’s World Heritage Listing

Victor P Taffa

The Ningaloo Coast has been given the highest level of international recognition with its inscription on the World Heritage List for its natural beauty and biological diversity.

The World Heritage Committee endorsed the nomination at its meeting in Paris last night.

Premier Colin Barnett and Environment Minister Bill Marmion today welcomed the World Heritage listing and said it gave proper recognition of the area’s outstanding natural beauty and biological richness.

The Premier said the Ningaloo Coast had been nominated for World Heritage listing by the Federal Government with the support of the Western Australian Government.

 

The listing covered an area of 604,500 ha and included Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park, as well as the Learmonth Air Weapons Range, Bundegi and Jurabi coastal parks, the Muiron Islands and Muiron Islands Marine Management Area.

The Premier said the World Heritage listing of the Ningaloo Coast was recognition of the striking natural landscapes of Cape Range and Ningaloo Reef and the high biological diversity of the reef.

“Visitors to the region have the opportunity to encounter one of the world’s largest aggregations of whale sharks, as well as marine mammals, turtles and manta rays, and many rare and diverse plants and animals found within Cape Range.” Premier Barnett said.

The Premier acknowledged that Ningaloo Reef was one of the most beautiful and accessible coral reefs in the world, which ranked seventh on the world’s list of coral reef biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and second in terms of the number of species found within a limited range.

“Cape Range peninsula emerged from the sea over a period of 26 Million years and is essentially built from the skeletons of ancient marine creatures.” Premier Barnett said.

“Today, the Ningaloo Coast presents the best opportunity in the world to encounter whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, together with internationally significant populations of manta rays, dugongs, turtles, humpback and other whales, rays and sharks.”

Mr. Marmion said the World Heritage listing was recognition of the comprehensive management arrangements in place for the area based on a network of marine and terrestrial conservation reserves.

The Minister said the State Government would remain principally responsible for management and decision making in the area, in consultation with local governments, pastoralists, landholders and the community.

“The ownership of land, and the way lands and waters are managed, will not change under the World Heritage listing.” Mr. Marmion said.

“World Heritage listing is the highest global recognition of a site’s importance. The listing presents an opportunity for the community and governments to work together, to ensure the area is protected and the benefits of sustainable nature-based tourism flow to the community.”

“The listing of the Ningaloo Coast means the area ranks alongside sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, Egypt’s Pyramids, Yellowstone National Park, Stonehenge and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.”

Mr. Marmion said Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park attracted more than 250,000 visits a year, with visitors injecting about $141 Million into the Gascoyne region’s economy according to the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.

Shark Bay, Purnululu National Park and Fremantle Prison are the only other WA sites which are World Heritage listed.

WA Minister for Environment Bill Marmion

WA Minister for Environment Bill Marmion