The 604,500 hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast, on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Exceptional landscape combining arid terrestrial and marine features
One of the largest documented aggregation of whale sharks in the world
High diversity of marine fish
High diversity of reptiles
High diversity of marine mammals
High diversity of cave (troglomorphic) diversity
Noteworthy arid-zone vascular flora
High diversity of marine invertebrates and algae
Recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee at the time of inscription (2011) have been considered, for example, an increase in overall management resources has been implemented (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
The World Heritage Committee also referred some of the areas proposed in the original nomination back to the State Party, which required further consultation with stakeholders, particularly holders of private leases, noting that they could be considered again via a subsequent minor boundary modification (World Heritage Committee, 2011).
DBCA are in consultation with the Gnulli native title claim group to negotiate an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the creation of conversation and recreation reserves along the Ningaloo Coast (adjacent to the property), as well as an extension to Cape Range National Park and intertidal portions of Ningaloo Marine Park. Additionally DBCA and the Gnulli native title claim group are negotiating a Joint Management Agreement (JMA) for the management of the proposed conversation and recreation reserves along the Ningaloo Coast, Ningaloo Marine Park and Cape Range National Park (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
DBCA has recently reconfigured staffing to dedicate a marine ranger and a conservation employee to southern portions of the property, based in Coral Bay. A senior operations officer has been appointed to oversee southern operations. Additionally an operations officer and three aboriginal conversation employees have also been appointed to work across the district including southern portions of the property.
The Director of National Parks (Parks Australia) employs staff to manage Ningaloo Marine Park (Commonwealth waters) (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
The Ningaloo Turtle Program (NTP) was established in 2002, as a collaborative initiative between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Parks and Wildlife Service - Exmouth District, Cape Conservation Group Inc. (CCG), Murdoch University and the World Wildlife Fund - Australia (WWF). The mission statement of the program is to predict long-term trends in marine turtle populations along the Ningaloo coast. This is accomplished through the collection of turtle nesting information such as nesting abundance and disturbance data. This data assists Parks and Wildlife in the reduction of disturbance levels to nesting turtles and therefore improves the conservation of the species breeding in the area.
Volunteers are essential to the maintenance of the program. Based in Exmouth, Western Australia, the NTP provides an opportunity for local community, interstate and international volunteers to take part in turtle conservation. Participating volunteers gain practical experience with turtle monitoring, turtle rescues and other related activities.
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||ECOCEAN Inc.||Conservation of whale sharks around the world, working in collaboration with other nongovernmental organisations such as Earthwatch, individual volunteers in the community, and DEC in Australia, as well as scientists in the United States.|
|2||The Department of Defence||Project to protect Bundera Sinkhole noted in Nomination (2010). See http://www.cavedivers.com.au/bundera-sinkhole for notes on importance of this sinkhole.|
|3||Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions||Goat and feral cat control programmes.|
|4||Department of Parks and Wildlife||Regional turtle conservation project.|
|5||Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions||Extensive research|
|6||Cape Conservation Group Ltd Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions||North West Cape Feral Animal Trapping Program .|
|7||Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Cape Conservation Group Ltd||Ningaloo Turtle Program (community based monitoring program).|
|8||Gnaraloo Wilderness Foundation||Gnaraloo Turtle Conservation Program (adjacent to the property).|
|9||Director of National Parks (Parks Australia)||
|Preparation of a management plan for Ningaloo Marine Park as part of the North-west Marine Parks Network Management Plan’.|
|№||Site need title||Brief description of potential site needs||Support needed for following years|
|1||N.A.||Increased interpretation and education – both on the ground and online|
|2||N.A.||Further research into impacts of fishing|
ANU (Australian National University) (2009). Implications of climate change for Australia’s World Heritage properties: A preliminary assessment. A report to the Department of Climate Change and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts by the Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Australian National University. 207 pp.
CALM (Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management) (2005). Management Plan for the Ningaloo Marine Park and Muiron Islands Marine Management Area 2005–2015. Management Plan 52, CALM, Perth, Australia.
Davies HN, Beckley LE, Kobryn HT, Lombard AT, Radford B, Heyward A (2016)
Integrating Climate Change Resilience Features into the Incremental Refinement of an Existing Marine Park. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0161094. doi:10.1371/
IUCN (2011). IUCN Technical Evaluation. Ningaloo Coast (Australia).
Le Nohaïc, M., Ross, C.L., Cornwall, C.E., Comeau, S., Lowe, R., McCulloch, M.T., Schoepf, V. (2017). Marine heatwave causes unprecedented regional mass bleaching of thermally resistant corals in northwestern Australia. Scientific Reports 7. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-14794-y
Lukeman, S. (2005). Lessons Learnt from the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, a report prepared for the Gascoyne Development Commission. Gascoyne Development Commission, Carnarvon.
M. Depczynski et al. (2012). Bleaching, coral mortality and subsequent survivorship on a West Australian fringing reef. Coral Reefs (2013) 32:233–238
Nomination (2010). Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Nomination. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australia.
Sanzogni RL, Meekan MG, Meeuwig JJ (2015) Multi-Year Impacts of Ecotourism on Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) Visitation at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0127345.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127345
SoOUV (2011). Statement of Outstanding Universal Value Ningaloo Coast. In Decision 35COM 8B.7
Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2015). Conservation Advice. Rhincodon typus (whale shark).