Proposal to expand Macquarie Island Marine Park
A proposal to increase the size of Macquarie Island Marine Park in the Southern Ocean has been announced by the Australian Government today.
The move reflects the significance of Macquarie Island’s sub-Antarctic marine environment as an important foraging habitat for millions of seabirds and thousands of seals and penguins.
Royal penguins preening – Kerry Steinberner AAD
Among the species calling Macquarie Island and the surrounding marine park waters home include royal penguins, rockhopper penguins, subantarctic fur seals, southern elephant seals, black-browed albatrosses and grey petrels.
Besides numerous seamounts and canyons, Australia’s maritime area around the island contains one of the world’s most significant oceanic ridges — the only place on the planet where rocks from the earth’s mantle surface above the sea level.
Some of the waters around the island are also home to a sustainable fishery.
The Macquarie Island Marine Park is one of 14 marine parks managed by Parks Australia under the South-east Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2013-2023.
The first phase of statutory consultation on the proposal to expand the Macquarie Island Marine Park will commence in mid-March and will run in parallel with public consultation on the intention to prepare a new management plan for the South-east Network.
The expiry of the 10-year management plan for the South-east Network is an opportunity to review protections and management arrangements, ahead of the next plan.
The statutory reviews of marine parks will be undertaken in a consultative way, with any changes to marine park management based on science and stakeholder input.
The Macquarie Island Marine Park currently covers 162,000 square kilometres, with depths from 86 metres to 6,341 metres. The expansion would see the marine park nearly triple in size.
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