NINGALOO REEF is being hailed as a conservation and economic success story 10 years after a worldwide campaign prompted the Australian Government to extend its protected status.
Yesterday marked 10 years since the Federal Government extended Ningaloo’s total sanctuary zones from 10 per cent of the reef to 34 per cent, making it one of the most highly protected marine areas in Australia.
The 2004 decision came after the Save Ningaloo campaign stopped the development of a large-scale marina in 2003 with the support of tens of thousands of people from around the world.
Pew Charitable Trusts oceans director Michelle Grady said the creation of a “world-class sanctuary” at Ningaloo Reef had improved fishing, generated significant tourism, and boosted the regional economy.
“Ten years after Ningaloo Reef was protected in a sanctuary, 180,000 tourists a year are visiting Ningaloo and spending in excess of $141 million,” Ms Grady said.
The Save Our Marine Life alliance of conservation groups has marked the 10th anniversary by publishing a short film about the protected area.