- Published on Tuesday, 22 August 2006 23:33
FAQs about the MPRA
- What is the MPRA?
- Membership of MPRA
- What does the MPRA do?
- Who attends MPRA meetings?
- MPRA support and funding
The Marine Parks and Reserves Authority or MPRA is the vesting body for marine parks and reserves in WA, which reports to the Minister for the Environment. The provisions relating to the establishment, functions and powers of the MPRA are contained in Sections 26A to 26E of the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984.
The current members of the MPRA are Dr Tom Hatton (Chair), Mr Chris Doepel (Deputy Chair), Professor Diana Walker, Mr Kim Colero, Mr Jeff Cooper, Dr Kellie Pendoley and Ms Ida Holt.
The MPRA's primary role is the development of policies and the review and auditing of management plans for marine reserves. The MPRA also oversee and audit the implementation of these plans by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) with participation by the community, other government agencies and stakeholders.
The seven members of the MPRA meet once a month.
The legislation requires that the Chief Executive Officers of other agencies with an interest in proceedings are notified of MPRA meetings. They (or their nominees) are entitled to attend meetings as observers. Representatives of the Departments of Fisheries, Industry and Resources, Planning and Infrastructure, Tourism WA and the Western Australian Museum regularly attend MPRA meetings.
The MPRA also invites other delegates to provide input to relevant issues being discussed for example scientists and peak body representatives.
The MPRA has no financial functions. Costs relating to honoraria, travel costs and day to day operating costs are met by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between DEC and the MPRA
The Department of Environment and Conservation also provide the necessary executive support staff to the MPRA. The MPRA Executive Officer and staff of the Marine Policy and Planning Branch of DEC provide the essential assistance for the effective operation of the MPRA, particularly in regard to background briefings, advice and assistance at MPRA meetings.
FAQs about marine conservation reserves
- What are marine conservation reserves?
- Marine Nature Reserves
- Why have marine conservation reserves?
- How many marine conservation reserves are there in WA?
- Can I fish in WA's marine conservation reserves?
- What are sanctuary zones?
- What are the benefits of sanctuary zones?
- Do sanctuary zones work?
Marine parks and reserves are areas that provide protection of the marine environment. There are three different types of marine parks and reserves in Western Australia that provide different levels of protection to marine plants and animals and allow different human activities within their boundaries.
Marine nature reserves have the highest level of protection. In popular language they are "no-take areas" where the principle of "look but don't take" applies. Except in any specified prohibited zones, public access is permitted but activities that may have detrimental impact on the reserve's environmental values are not permitted.
The purpose of a marine park is for allowing only that level of recreational and commercial activity which is consistent with the proper conservation and restoration of the marine environment, the protection of indigenous flora and fauna and the preservation of any feature of archaeological, historic or scientific interest.
· Why have Marine management areas
The purpose of a marine management area is for managing and protecting the marine environment so it may be used for conservation, recreational, scientific and commercial purposes.
A marine management area is explicitly for multiple use. The uses and sustainable management objectives for each marine management area are specified and described in a management plan.
There are 12 marine conservation reserves in Western Australia -
- one marine nature reserve at Hamelin Pool;
- nine marine parks located at Rowley Shoals, Montebello Islands, Barrow Island, Ningaloo, Shark Bay, Jurien Bay, Marmion, Swan Estuary, Shoalwater Islands; and
- two marine management areas located at Barrow Island and Muiron Islands.
Approximately 1.5 million hectares (or 12.2%) of WA's marine environment is protected with marine parks and reserves.
In addition, Western Australia also has fish habitat protection areas managed by the Department of Fisheries and the Rottnest Island marine reserve managed by the Rottnest Island Authority.
Yes, except in sanctuary zones, some special zones and marine nature reserves.
For more information in areas where you can fish please refer to the Department of Conservation and Land Management.
A sanctuary zone is a no-take area, functionally directly equivalent to a marine nature reserve (see above). Fishing and any other activity that disturbs the environment and its flora and fauna is not permitted. Sanctuary zones are selected to be representative of the marine park's habitats and to provide special protection to any places or features deemed to be of special significance
All of Western Australia's marine parks include sanctuary zones.
- The benefits of sanctuary zones can include:
- creation of natural spaces for future generations;
- protection of marine plants, animals and habitats;
- increased biodiversity of marine ecosystems;
- comprehensive and representative reference areas of natural marine ecosystems
- enhancement of ecotourism opportunities (diving, snorkelling, fauna viewing)
- research and education opportunities;
- animals survive longer, grow larger and have greater reproductive success;
- recovery of habitats and enhanced fisheries populations;
- replenishment of plants and animals to surrounding areas;
There is a lot of research about sanctuary zones and their benefits. It is generally accepted that sanctuary zones are an important management tool in marine conservation and should be use to complement existing ocean management.
More than 80 marine reserves (where plants and animals are fully protected i.e. sanctuary zones) of different sizes and locations (tropical and temperate) have been studied by scientists. A comprehensive review of these studies reveals that “… most well-enforced marine reserves result in relatively large, rapid, and long-lasting increases in the population sizes, numbers of species, and reproductive output of marine animals and plants.” (PISCO, 2002)
This review showed that “… the average biomass, or weight of all animals and plants studied, is more than four times larger in reserves than in unprotected areas nearby. On average, the density, or number of animals in an areas, triples, and the number of species is 1.7 times higher in marine reserves than in unprotected areas” (PISCO, 2002) .
PISCO: Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (2002). The Science of Marine Reserves . http://www.piscoweb.org . 22 pages .