The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) administers and manages the Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Marine Reserve, located in the Southern Ocean some 4000km south west of Western Australia (see Australian Antarctic Magazine 5: 40, 2003). The AAD has prepared a draft management plan for the Reserve which has been considered by the Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas Committee – an interdepartmental body responsible for considering draft management plans for Commonwealth marine protected areas – and by the key stakeholders involved in the process to declare the Reserve. The draft plan will be released for public comment shortly, with announcements to be made via the AAD website, the Australian newspaper, the Government Notices Gazette and environmental newsletters. The draft plan includes comprehensive measures to prevent the human introduction of new species and diseases (see Ecological risks to Heard Island assessed), to communicate the Reserve to the Australian and global community (see Bringing Heard Island to the world), and to ensure that wastes, facilities, access and human activities in general are managed to maintain conservation values recognised on a national and international scale.
Readers interested in the management of HIMI are welcome to comment on the draft plan. The draft plan will be revised where necessary to address issues raised during the public comment period and will then be presented to Parliament by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage for formal adoption.
Environmental Policy and Protection Section,
Australian Antarctic Division