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Fly Neighbourly Advice for the Tasman National Park


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Summary of Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area Management Plan 2006

The full version of the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area Management Plan 2006 can be downloaded as a PDF (1200 Kb)

Constituent maps are available as separate PDF's: 

Map 1 - Southern Ocean (97 Kb)
Map 2 - Regional Location and Macquarie Island Marine Park (111 Kb)
Map 3 - Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area (91 Kb)
Map 4 - Macquarie Island - Historic Sites, Huts and Tracks (117 Kb)
Map 5 - Local Bathymetry - Macquarie Island Region (100 Kb)
Map 6 - Macquarie Island - Topography (109 Kb)
Map 7 - Macquarie Island - Geology (North) (135 Kb)
Map 7a - Macquarie Island - Geology (South) (117 Kb)
Map 8 - Macquarie Island – Vegetation (North) (131 Kb)
Map 8a - Macquarie Island – Vegetation (South) (127 Kb)
Map 9 - Macquarie Island - Fauna (North) (120 Kb)
Map 9a - Macquarie Island - Fauna (South) (100 Kb)
Map 10 - Macquarie Island – Management Zoning (115 Kb)
Map 11 - Macquarie Island – Special Management Areas (2520 Kb)
Map 12 - Macquarie Island – Station Area (2130 Kb)
Map 13 - The Isthmus TMA (Zone A) (2370 Kb)
Map 14 - Sandy Bay TMA (Zone B) (1350 Kb) 
Map 15 - Lusitania Bay TMA (Zone C) (1910 Kb)


Macquarie Island Nature Reserve is one of the most valuable reserves in Australia and the world, well recognised for its conservation, geological, ecological and scientific values. It is a World Heritage Area, a Biosphere Reserve, and is listed on the Register of the National Estate. The reserve is adjacent to the Australian Government Macquarie Island Marine Park, which is the second largest marine protected area in the world. The reserve is part of the State of Tasmania, managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) of the Department of Tourism, Arts and the Environment.

Scientific research, management and long-term monitoring programs conducted over the last 50 years have contributed to knowledge and understanding of the reserve, to knowledge and understanding of global earth processes, and to global monitoring programs. These programs will be allowed to continue providing they cause no long-term adverse impacts on reserve values.

Due to recent changes in the Australian Government’s Antarctic science program, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) will be reducing its support of research activities at Macquarie Island. The AAD may send only one vessel to the reserve each year for the foreseeable future. The impacts of such a reduction may affect research, management and monitoring programs in the reserve. Scientists, universities, other government agencies and educational tourism operators with a continuing interest in the reserve may need to develop alternative transport and logistic arrangements. Changes to management of the station and support facilities in the reserve may ultimately trigger a review of this management plan.

If the AAD were to decommission the station, removal of buildings and facilities and site clean-up would be the responsibility of the AAD as stated in Section 6.12 of the plan. The University of Tasmania has expressed interest in establishing a summer educational program using station facilities; dialogue between the University and the AAD and PWS has been encouraged. The Bureau of Meteorology is also interested in continuing its research and monitoring programs, and the international geological community is keen to continue research programs. Educational tourism interest in the reserve is likely to grow and continue into the future.

The major pressures on the reserve are a result of human interest and occupation. This plan aims to provide substantive protection to the natural and historical values of the reserve and to repair past damage by human activities. To contribute to the achievement of these aims, the reserve has been declared a restricted area under the National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 and authorisation from the Director of National Parks and Wildlife is required to enter the reserve. This plan establishes three management zones. The first zone covers the AAD research station on the Isthmus where accommodation, workshops, laboratories, stores and support facilities have been established for over 50 years. The second zone covers the rest of the terrestrial reserve and adjacent sea stacks where limited facilities and experimental sites have been or may be established. The third zone covers the marine environment to the limit of state waters, three nautical miles from low-water mark.

Special Management Areas, such as Bishop and Clerk Islets, Judge and Clerk Islets and the Caroline Cove/southern peaks area, may be designated within any of these zones to further manage human access, especially during the breeding season or when necessary for protection of natural and historic cultural heritage values.

The reserve is of great public interest and educational value. Although tourism and recreation are not objectives of management for Tasmanian nature reserves, controlled tourism for educational purposes is the only form of tourism permitted in this reserve. Tourism management areas have been designated in each zone to provide limited access for educational tourism purposes.

Off-reserve public education programs through various media will continue to be encouraged. Tasmania’s role in managing the island will be publicised and promoted to assist the promotion of the state as a base for Antarctic activity, in accordance with the State Government’s Antarctic Policy.

The plan also describes the protected marine areas; i.e. the eastern waters of the World Heritage Area from 3 to 12 nautical miles included in the Macquarie Island Marine Park. While this plan cannot bind the Australian Government, a cooperative and complementary approach to the management of adjacent protected marine areas will be encouraged.

The geological values, which were the focus of the World Heritage listing of the reserve, will be protected due to their global significance. Scientific research interest in the reserve is high because it is the only place in the world where rocks from up to 6 kilometres below the ocean floor are exposed above sea level. Current knowledge of the Earth’s oceanic crust has been limited to the depths to which drilling can occur, considerably less than 6 kilometres.

As of June 2003, the reserve protects 16 species of fauna and one plant species that are listed in the Schedules of the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. Five other species are currently under review for inclusion. In 2002, Macquarie Island Nature Reserve was listed as habitat critical to the survival of two albatross species on the Register of Critical Habitat under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBCA). All four species of albatross that breed in the reserve are vulnerable to extinction, as are the southern elephant seal and subantarctic fur seal. Research on these species will continue to be focused on monitoring the Macquarie Island populations and their foraging requirements.

One of the highest conservation priorities in the reserve is the eradication of rabbits, rats and mice from the island. These alien species are identified as causing extensive impacts on the biodiversity and landscape of the reserve. Research programs into the biology, ecology and management of alien species in the reserve will continue. Where feasible, practical and desirable, control programs will continue to be undertaken. Stringent precautions will be implemented to prevent further accidental introductions of alien species.

The identification, interpretation and, where considered necessary, conservation of historic cultural heritage will be given high priority. Further studies and/or conservation work will be carried out where necessary for the preservation of historic cultural heritage.

This management plan replaces the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve Management Plan 1991. It considers and incorporates planning and public consultation undertaken since 1996 when the reserve was first nominated for World Heritage listing. It also considers and incorporates consultation undertaken since 1999 for the marine component of the reserve and the preparation of this new management plan.

This management plan has been prepared in accordance with the Tasmanian National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 and in accordance with the EPBCA and its Regulations, in particular Schedule 5, which sets out Australian World Heritage Management Principles. These principles promote national standards of management, planning, environmental impact assessment, community involvement and monitoring for all of Australia’s World Heritage properties in a way that is consistent with Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention.

This plan is divided into two major sections. Part A provides an overview of the reserve, its legislative context and a description of the values of the reserve. Part B provides the management vision, objectives, policies and prescriptions for the reserve. The appendices provide further useful information for management of the reserve.