Photo: Ewan McIvor
The Reserve is a Commonwealth reserve, declared under section 344 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).
An initial proposal for a HIMI Marine Reserve was announced in January 2001. This proposal drew on an Australian Antarctic Division (AGAD) report documenting the conservation values of the region: Conservation of marine habitats in the HIMI region (PDF - 1.22 MB).
Following extensive consultation between the Department of the Environment and Heritage Australia and HIMI stakeholders over 18 months, an amended proposal was announced in May 2002, with 85 % of the original area remaining in a highly protected marine reserve, and 15 % reclassified as a conservation zone for further assessment and possible inclusion in the Marine Reserve at a later date.
See below for a summary of the Reserve purpose and management objectives.
The Reserve was declared by Proclamation for the purpose of ‘protecting the conservation values of Heard Island and McDonald Islands and the adjacent unique and vulnerable marine ecosystems’.
The management objectives for the Reserve outlined in the Reserve proposal were to:
- protect conservation values of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI), the territorial sea and the adjacent EEZ including:
- the World Heritage and cultural values of the HIMI Territory;
- the unique features of the benthic and pelagic environments;
- representative portions of the different marine habitat types; and
- marine areas used by land-based marine predators for local foraging activities.
- provide an effective conservation framework which will contribute to the integrated and ecologically sustainable management of the HIMI region as a whole;
- provide a scientific reference area for the study of ecosystem function within the HIMI region; and
- add representative examples of the HIMI EEZ to the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.
The management plan for the Reserve outlines a Management Vision that considers the purpose for declaration and the management objectives, and conveys an over-arching statement of the aims for future management of the Reserve.