Houtman Abrolhos joins WA’s national parks network
The WA Parks Foundation applauds the official creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park as an historic step in the interests of protecting and conserving the biodiversity, heritage and landscape values of this near pristine archipelago on the Coral Coast.
The recent announcement by Premier Mark McGowan also comes with a State Government commitment to invest $10 million into tourism and management infrastructure over the next two years. This includes the construction of new jetties, toilets, shade shelters, walk trails and visitor interpretation on East Wallabi and Beacon islands. The airstrip on East Wallabi will be upgraded.
A further operational budget has been allocated by the State Government for the ongoing management of the islands, including for the employment of rangers.
The creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the European sighting of the islands by Dutch explorer Frederik de Houtman. It has been years in the planning and has involved significant community and industry consultation.
The 122 islands, about 80 kilometres west of Geraldton, are in three main groups: Wallabi, Easter and Pelsaert. They extend from north to south across 100 kilometres of ocean. The islands and their surrounding reef communities are a meeting place for tropical and temperate sea life, forming one of the State’s beautiful marine areas. The region is also one of the world’s most important for seabird nesting.
As well as being a popular destination for nature appreciation and fishing, the Abrolhos has great historical significance as the site the site of the notorious Batavia mutiny.
Houtman Abrolhos is the first new national park created under the Western Australian Government’s Plan for our Parks initiative which aims to create five million hectares of new national and marine parks and conservation reserves over the next five years.
The newly created national park covers lands outside of the areas leased to rock lobster and aquaculture fisheries. It will be vested with the Conservation and Parks Commission and managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.