Agencies move to strengthen protections for Exmouth coast

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Sandy Bay on the Ningaloo Coast.
Camera IconSandy Bay on the Ningaloo Coast. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

Coastal reserves in Exmouth are under pressure after one of the busiest tourist seasons the town has ever had, with the Shire of Exmouth teaming up with the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions and other key agencies in an attempt to protect key assets.

The bumper tourist season caused the boat ramps to reach capacity, beach accesses and car parks to be filled to overflowing and an increase in illegal camping activity on the Ningaloo coast.

There are three agencies in the area which are responsible for managing different parts of the coastal reserves and parks, with the Shire, DBCA and WA Police all playing a part.

Shire president Matthew Niikkula said all the agencies had agreed to work together to develop a compliance and management plan to reduce the impacts of increased use and illegal camping.

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“The Dunes car park is under the control of (another agency) and the Shire and DBCA have no legal ability to move campers on or to issue infringements,” he said.

“We hope that by the start of the next peak season the Shire and DBCA will have the ability to enact its legislative compliance powers.

“We will also review the management plan for the Jurabi and Bundegi Coastal Parks, jointly managed by the Shire and DBCA, and act immediately to increase the issuing of infringements and education of people free camping or illegally accessing coastal areas.”

Other steps to be taken include closing of informal beach accesses where the public continue to ignore signs and improved signage to protect the fragile coastal systems and marine life at other beaches.

“We want to address these issues to ensure that visitors ... continue to have a positive experience at Ningaloo, but also to ensure we can manage any environmental impacts on our pristine coastline,” Mr Niikkula said.

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