New marine park in Australia’s Northern Territory protects flourishing ecosystem and Indigenous communities

A new marine park in Australia, at Limmen Bight, has won approval – the first in the Northern Territory in more than 30 years.

Located at the mouth of the Roper River in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Limmen Bight Marine Park is home to an array of marine animals, from threatened pipefish to part of the largest density of dugongs in the Northern Territory.

The Park protects 884 km2 of relatively pristine and diverse marine habitats including extensive seagrass beds or
meadows. These seagrass beds are important for maintaining marine turtles, listed pipefish and dugongs.

The area also includes important commercial quantities of prawn, mud crab and barramundi. These populations are important for both the commercial and recreational fishers of the region.

These waters are home to the Indigenous Marra people who have cared for the sea country for millennia. The Marra have a rich cultural history here, one that includes many songlines, dreamtime stories and important sacred sites. The marine park provides the Marra and the Northern Territory government the opportunity to safeguard the unique cultural, conservation and fishing lifestyle values of this iconic region. 

The marine park is only the second designated in the Northern Territory, following Cobourg Marine Park, which was created in 1983.

The creation of this marine park should improve management and protection of the marine environment while supporting Aboriginal economic development and fishing, boosting nature-based tourism, and safeguarding the area’s unique marine wildlife. It also puts a stop to proposed seabed mining within the park, which could have decimated marine life, polluted waters and threatened recreational fishing.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and local partners has worked with local communities, stakeholders and the Northern Territory government to help make this marine park a reality.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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