The government announced that it will protect Exmouth Gulf on Western Australia’s Ningaloo Coast by implementing a variety of conservation measures, including the formation of new conservation reserves in areas where major industrial developments were proposed.
The move was hailed by conservationists and campaigners alike who opposed industrial developments in the Exmouth Gulf region due to concerns about the future of the Ningaloo Reef and the many animals its ecosystems support.
Measures will include the creation of class A reserves in the Qualing Pool area, the proposed location of the Gascoyne Gateway industrial port, as well as the marine area on the eastern side of the gulf adjacent to where K+S proposed its industrial salt production facility.
“This is a major step forward for the conservation of Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo. With this announcement, the contest between heavy industry and conservation has been resolved in favour of the area’s world-class environment and sustainable jobs,” said Paul Gamblin, director of the grassroots initiative Protect Ningaloo.
While the Ningaloo Coast was inscribed on the World Heritage List on 24 June 2011, the Exmouth Gulf itself wasn’t included in the listing, thus leaving it open to industrial proposals. After industrial corporations were quick to propose a new marine port in the area as well as steel pipelines to cater for offshore gasfields, the fears of irreparably damaging the area steadily grew. An example of the natural key events taking place in the area: The Ningaloo coast and the eastern side of the Exmouth Gulf are host to the annual humpback migrations.
The government’s announcement comes in response to the Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority’s recent assessment of Exmouth Gulf in which it recognised the Gulf’s unique values of global significance.
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Photography courtesy of Unsplash.