A new Management Plan for Australia’s Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Marine Reserve has been approved by the Federal Government.

The HIMI Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014–2024 covers about 71,000 square kilometres of terrestrial and marine areas and has a strong focus on biosecurity.

The new plan includes 6,200 square kilometres of high conservation waters, supporting distinct benthic habitats, species and ecosystems, added to the Reserve in March this year.

HIMI is located about 4,000 kilometres south-west of mainland Australia in the southern Indian Ocean.

The islands are Australia’s largest International Union for Conservation of Nature 1a Strict Nature Reserve and home to Australia’s only active volcano, Big Ben, rising 2,745 metres above sea level.

Heard Island is considered one of the most biologically pristine areas in the world. The islands were inscribed on the World Heritage list in December 1997 on the basis of their outstanding natural universal values.