Tourism plan to exploit unique [Abrolhos] islands

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Tourism plan to exploit unique [Abrolhos] islands
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 18:16:31 +1000
Have any of the Sandgropers on this list got any more info on this
plan?  [Is the plan on the web yet?]

While I would be happy to pop over to the Abrolhos Islands to do a spot
of birding, I am concerned that improperly managed tourism is likely to
disturb the rookeries [as well as the local marine environment].

Regards, Laurie.

p5, 05-04-2001

Tourism plan to exploit unique islands

By Melissa Stevens

THE unique Abrolhos Islands will become a
playground for tourists under a Fisheries WA plan.

Fisheries Minister Kim Chance released a plan
yesterday which forms the basis for tourism
development on the 122 low-lying islands and reefs
which make up the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

No costing or timeframe for the plan have been

Fisheries WA will call for expressions of interest
after June to build tourism facilities, communication
systems, public boat moorings and airstrips.

The islands, 60km off Geraldton, have unique marine
areas with the most southern living coral reefs in the
Indian Ocean and big breeding colonies of almost 90
seabird species.

The Abrolhos is the centre of the multi-million-dollar
western rock lobster industry and site of several
important historic shipwrecks, including the Batavia.

Other proposals are the development of land-based
overnight facilities for up to 40 people at Long Island
and Little Roma, a moored accommodation facility on
the Leo's Island Reef Platform and charter boats
carrying up to 20 passengers.

Mr Chance said the aim of the plan was to encourage
environmentally sensitive tourism which was
compatible with maintaining the Abrolhos system in an
ecologically sound condition.

But WA Conservation Council coordinator Rachel
Siewert said the move was premature.

She said the environmentally fragile area, which had
been identified as perhaps the most significant marine
area in WA, was being opened up to tourism before
there were adequate measures to protect its high
conservation value.

Ms Siewert said it was inappropriate that Fisheries
WA managed the area.

She said it should be done with the Department of
Conservation and Land Management.

Fisheries WA spokesman Colin Chalmers said the
department had a memorandum of understanding with
CALM over the Abrolhos.

CALM was represented on the Abrolhos Islands
management advisory committee and would help
administer the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Geraldton Regional Tourism Association chairman
Henry Van Tiel said the association wanted people to
visit the area but did not want the fragile environment

Geraldton City Council chief executive Rob Jefferies
said the project had big economic benefits.

A visitors' fee would help recover costs of managing
the islands and providing visitor facilities.
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