New marine parks in the Buccaneer Archipelago

Following an extensive consultation and planning process, three new marine parks have been established in the Kimberley’s breathtakingly beautiful Buccaneer Archipelago. The Bardi Jawi Gaarra, Mayala and Maiyalam marine parks together total more than 600,000 hectares.

In a WA first, the parks have been co-designed and will be jointly managed by Traditional Owners and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The zoning will ensure that areas of conservation and areas of cultural significance to the Dambeemangarddee, Mahala, Bardi Jawi saltwater people are protected.

Fringing reefs have formed around the coast and between the many islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, withstanding a tidal range in excess of eleven metres. The wide intertidal areas are home to a diversity of plants and animals, all adapted to their coastal environment.

Mangrove-lined creeks and seagrass meadows create important nursery areas for fish, and turtles are regularly seen foraging and nesting in the area. From June to November humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the Kimberley to give birth to their young, and dugongs visit the marine parks area in the cooler months from May to July.

Traditional Owners have been living in this region for tens of thousands of years, with the islands, reefs and intertidal systems home to many culturally important sites, and significant foraging and hunting habitats.

A sector support package will be developed with the community and the fishing sector to ensure the continuation of sustainable fisheries, high quality fishing experiences and support for local industries.

Lalang-garam, Horizontal Falls. Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia