New partnership set to protect Lady Elliot Island
SeaRead Marine Park News
Issue 10 ¥ May/June 2006
© Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2006
The lease-holders of Lady Elliot Island, Reef Resort Management Pty Ltd, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) recently entered into a new partnership that will help protect the World Heritage assets of Lady Elliot Island and provide a unique experience for visitors. Lady Elliot Eco Resort Managing Director Peter Gash said they saw themselves as the current guardians of Lady Elliot Island. "We have the good fortune of watching over this beautiful wildemess environment and of helping to preserve the Island's World Heritage values," Peter said. "Our job is more than looking after this location for our own benefit. We are also looking after it on behalf of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian public and world-wide community." GBRMPA Manager of Commonwealth Islands Kathleen Swalling said it was fantastic to be working with such a positive and motivated team of people to ensure the future protection of the Commonwealth-owned Lady Elliot Island. "The Lady Elliot Island team and the GBRMPA have agreed priorities and are working together to improve the environmental management of Lady Elliot Island," Kathleen said. "The resort's management will continue re-establishing vegetation and bird habitat for the island since it was cleared for guano (bird dropping) mining. Another focus will be the restoration of both resort buildings and some of the heritage-listed properties such as the light keeper's houses." Kathleen said Peter and his team had a long association with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and were all passionate about both the Reef and Lady Elliot Island. "The team are committed to working with all users of the Marine Park for better environmental outcomes." GBRMPA and Lady Elliot Eco Resort Management recently met with local trawl operators who use the waters surrounding Lady Elliot Island to anchor and get some well-eamed rest. "We had a meeting with local trawl operators and together we have come up with a trial plan to not only look at environmentally-friendly anchoring areas where coral is unlikely to get damaged, but to ensure a safe place for trawlers to rest," Peter said. "In addition, an education programme has been implemented to help visitors understand the important role trawlers play in placing prawns on our dinner table and the need for them to have a safe anchorage at night." Peter said they were very aware of the balancing act required to ensure the location was adequately protected while ensuring people had the opportunity to experience such unique locations. "It is important to us that we work in conjunction with the GBRMPA so we can draw on their years of experience in managing these areas of the Marine Park. "We each have a role to play in the successful management of World Heritage Areas like Lady Elliot Island." Peter said the Lady Elliot Island team were very excited about the future. "The GBRMPA has demonstrated to us that they are proactive and supportive of our endeavours to protect this remarkable place. "We look forward to making a quality contribution to the protection and improvement of the environment that is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park."