AIMAC was established in April 1996 to advise the Minister of Fisheries on the ongoing management of the Abrolhos Islands. The plan provides a blueprint for future management of the islands and their surrounding waters. In recognition of this, the Minister of Fisheries publishes the plan Management of the Houtman Abrolhos system after a period of public consultation.
The islands are becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists attracted by the Abrolhos' diving, fishing, bird watching, maritime history and other features. The draft Management Plan for Sustainable Tourism in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands has been developed to create a framework within which tourism can be developed on the islands. Manage environmentally sensitive nature-based tourism that is consistent with the values of the Abrolhos system and provide appropriate access to the area for the community." The objectives of this plan are to: Manage environmentally sensitive nature-based tourism that is consistent with the values of the Abrolhos system and provide appropriate access to the area for the community.
- Abrolhos Attractions for Visitors
- History of Tourism in the Abrolhos
- Recent Investigations of Tourism in the Abrolhos
- Tourist Numbers in the Abrolhos
Above the water surface, the most interesting natural feature of the Abrolhos is the spectacular number of seabirds of various species. There are literally millions of birds and the Abrolhos is one of the most important seabird areas in the world. These characteristics and many others make the Abrolhos a potentially important area for tourism. Until now, the island has been little developed for tourism.
Access to the Abrolhos is limited by their distance from the Australian mainland and the absence of visitor facilities on the islands. Several recent studies have been undertaken to investigate whether further tourism development should be allowed on the islands and in the territorial waters of the Abrolhos. A controversial point is that friends of fishermen visit during the Abrolhos Island lobster season.
PRINCIPAL MANAGEMENT DIRECTIONS FOR TOURISM
- Management of the Abrolhos Islands
- Abrolhos Islands Management Advisory Committee
- Abrolhos Islands Land Management Subcommittee (AILMSC)
- Other Agencies and Relevant Acts
- Management Plan for the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
- Management of the Terrestrial Environment
- Management of the Marine Environment
To identify issues relevant to the seasonal occupancy of the Abrolhos Islands by rock lobster fishermen. To advise the Minister for Fisheries through the Abrolhos Islands Management Advisory Committee (AIMAC) on matters relating to the management of the Abrolhos Islands Reserve and the State's territorial waters as they relate to the Western Australian rock lobster industry. To advise the Minister of Fisheries through AIMAC on matters relating to the maintenance and improvement of Abrolho's marine and terrestrial environments.
To determine measures for emergency management procedures for the Abrolhos Islands as part of the Geraldton-Greenough Local Emergency Management Plan. The Houtman Abrolhos System Management Plan covers the overall strategy for the management of the Abrolhos Islands. To enable the multiple, equitable and sustainable use and development of Abrolho's social and economic attributes.
RECREATION,TOURISM AND VISITOR USE
- Overall Thrust of the Tourism Management Plan
- Ethics of Nature-based Tourism
- Private Recreational Tourism
- Commercial Tourism operators
- Opportunities for Tourism in the Abrolhos
- Constraints on Tourism in the Abrolhos
- Facilities in Geraldton to Support Tourism in the Abrolhos Islands
- Types of Operations
- Charter Boat Visits (For Short or Long Visits)
- Moored Accommodation Facilities
- Low Density, Low Impact Shore-based Tourism
- Recommended Sites
- Charter Boats
- Shore-based Facilities
- Moored Accommodation Facilities
- Islands Rejected for Shore-based Facilities
- Visitor Fees
- Licences Required
- Areas Where Operations are Allowed
- Applicable Policies
- Monitoring Program
- Process for Establishing Commercial Tourism Ventures in the Abrolhos
To manage private recreational tourism in the Abrolhos Islands in accordance with the carrying capacity of the environment. Due to the proximity of the Abrolhos to Geraldton, these visitors are concentrated in the Pelsaert Group. Provide copies of the Abrolhos Island Regulations and other information through the Geraldton Office of Fisheries WA.
However, the fragile nature of the Abrolhos land and marine systems is also one of the major limitations for tourism in the Abrolhos. The hard limestone base of most of the islands in the Abrolhos does not allow the installation and use of septic tanks. Facilities should be provided on the mainland so that island visitors can learn and appreciate more about the Abrolhos before and after their visit. This will enhance their enjoyment of their time on the islands.
For many people, a visit to the mainland facilities will provide all the information and pleasure they want, and they may not visit the Abrolhos. To help develop continental facilities to help potential visitors to Abrolhos to gain an understanding of the natural and cultural attributes of the islands. The final report of the Abrolhos Island Tourism Working Group (AICC 1995) considered the interests of fishermen and tourism operators to be incompatible.
A number of possible mechanisms for tourism development in the Abrolhos were identified in the 1995 final report of the Abrolhos Islands Tourism Working Group (AICC 1995). All of the options discussed in the 1995 report are included below and other options have been added. A number of additional potential sites have been proposed during the development of the current draft tourism management plan and previous tourism investigations in the Abrolhos Islands.
West Wallabi Island is one of the largest islands in the Abrolhos, and has extensive sandy beaches along its western n side. The Leo's Island platform is located in a reef observation area where the anemone clump is already one of the premier dive sites in the Abrolhos. According to the Abrolhos Islands Planning Strategy (AICC/AITF 1989), the island is to be abandoned as part of the program of consolidation of fishermen to a limited number of islands.
PUBLIC FACILITIES NEEDED FOR ABROLHOS VISITORS
Airstrips on the Abrolhos Islands
Maintain and develop the airstrips in Abrolhos so that at least the current level of service is maintained. Improve the airstrips of Abrolhos and develop associated facilities, such as passenger waiting areas, toilet facilities, telephone service, etc., in a manner consistent with the islands' environmental values. Change the operating conditions of the Abrolhos airstrips to allow their use for tourist operations.
Moorings and Jetties
Beacon Island Education Centre
OTHER MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS
- Incorporation into the Management Plan for the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
- Abrolhos Islands Communication Plan
- Community Liaison
- Resourcing, Surveillance and Enforcement
- Plan Implementation and Review
The charter for community awareness and education regarding the Abrolhos ecosystem is to increase and strengthen the knowledge, understanding and respect of members of the public and tour operators. Implementation of a communication plan for the Abrolhos Islands in collaboration with other agencies, community groups and interested individuals. Plan and implement a coordinated program of research into the use of the Abrolhos by visitors, verifying whether the visit meets their expectations, the effects of visitors on the natural and cultural features of the islands, and evaluating the effectiveness of management programs.
Such information is essential for the development of tourism knowledge in the Abrolhos Islands and a high priority will be given to the development of this information. As visits to the Abrolhos Islands increase, there is the possibility that its harmful effects - people inadvertently or intentionally causing harm - will increase. The effectiveness of management strategies will be continuously monitored to determine whether they are having the desired effects. This monitoring will provide information to those people involved in the management of the Abrolhos Islands to allow them to continuously improve the management strategies of the islands.
The objective is to develop, encourage and facilitate community liaison, including tourism operators, and involvement in tourism management in the Abrolhos Islands. The Abrolhos Islands Management Advisory Committee will also consult with the community as appropriate when issues arise. The expected increase in the number of visitors to the Abrolhos makes it imperative that effective plans are made to provide information to visitors and ensure they understand the reasons for the regulations on the islands.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in public interest in WA to participate in interpretive programs (such as the Rottnest Volunteer Guides initiative) and environmental management (ie the Voluntary Fisheries Liaison Officer Programme). This public willingness to help must have been tapped in Abrolhos through a volunteer program. Provide information to visitors on the values of the Abrolhos system, their wise use and the regulations in force. The main safety issues in the Abrolhos are those created by boating and other activities in the marine environment or on the inhabited islands.
The Abrolhos Islands Management Advisory Board advises the Minister of Fisheries on the management of the Abrolhos Islands.
The resources (people and equipment) required to effectively manage the expected increase in the use of tourists in the Abrolhos Islands should be identified. That a movement fee is charged per passengers using the Air/Boat option to the Abrolhos Islands to assist with the maintenance costs of the East Wallabi Island airstrip, jetty and other infrastructure.”. Therefore, in the assessment of development proposals, great emphasis will be placed on the proposal's environmental effects, both actual and potential.
The overall policies for tourism in the Abrolhos are outlined in the Management of the Houtman Abrolhos System and the Management Plan for Sustainable Tourism in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. The Minister of Fisheries has recently approved the management plan for sustainable tourism in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. The information outlined below will be used by the Minister to determine whether the proposal is appropriate for the area of the Abrolhos in which it will operate. The proponent is strongly advised to discuss the proposal informally with the Executive Director of the Abrolhos Islands Management Advisory Committee at the Fisheries WA office in Geraldton before submitting a formal proposal.
Independent environmental monitoring of the effects of larger projects such as pontoons or shore-based facilities will be required. Such monitoring may also be required for smaller projects if there are concerns about the potential effects of the operation. Proponents are cautioned that a pre-installation survey of the area will be required to provide a basis for assessing changes that may occur after the undertaking commences.
This section of the application describes the monitoring program that will be implemented during the life of the project. Details of the rationale for monitoring aspects of the physical environment together with the aspects to be monitored. Details of the rationale for monitoring aspects of the biological environment together with the aspects to be monitored.
Detail the reasons for monitoring aspects of the socio-economic environment, along with the aspects that should be monitored. Provide information on expected revenues, expenses and profitability to demonstrate the financial viability of the proposal. Does the project have undue impacts on the environment and, if so, are they properly managed.
Map of the Pelsaert (Southern) Group of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Map of the Easter Group of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Map of the Wallabi Group of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands