The Bureau reviewed the overall report entitled "Shark Bay World Heritage Area (Australia): Condition, Management and Threats", that provides a comprehensive assessment of issues at Shark Bay and noted that the Australian Government prepared a response dated 21 June 2000 which was transmitted to the Centre on 26 June 2000.
IUCN noted that the ACIUCN process for monitoring has continued and has produced the report on Shark Bay. It was hoped that subsequent reports could be submitted for the Wet Tropics and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage sites. IUCN pointed out that this has been a very successful process. However, ACIUCN currently has a major budget problem which raises questions about the future of this monitoring process and discussions are taking place to resolve this issue. The ACIUCN’s comprehensive monitoring exercise for this site involved a series of stakeholder consultations and extensive joint involvement of government and NGOs. The report identified five priority action areas:
- The need to complete the strategic framework for the site as quickly as possible.
- The need to ensure that, where any exploration and extraction of minerals and petroleum take place, they do not cause damage to the World Heritage values. IUCN noted that shell mining and salt extraction were existing activities at the time of the inscription of the site and the State Party agreement to the listing assumed their continuation. The Committee agreed to this at the time.
- The need to ensure that any harvesting of biological resources is ecologically sustainable, such as in relation to aquaculture.
- The need to eradicate or at least control invasive species and
- The need to develop an overall visitor management strategy.
The Delegate of Australia commended the progress made with the ACIUCN monitoring process for this site and noted that the site is a complex one, inscribed under all natural criteria. It has also significant social and economic values.
The Observer of the United States pointed out that the component of the ACIUCN report relating to mining is based on the “WCPA Position Statement on Mining and Associated Activities in Relation to Protected Areas” and that this position statement was not adopted by IUCN, or the World Heritage Committee.
The Bureau noted the report provided and welcomed the fact that the State Party had prepared a consolidated response outlining proposed actions to implement the recommendations of the report. The Bureau requested IUCN to review this report and provide information to the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau.