1.         Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia) (N 577rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1997

Criteria  (viii)(ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Need for further documentation on the marine resources surrounding this property

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/577/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations            
Twenty-third session of the Committee – paragraph X.28 and Annex VIII.
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.24

New information: In accordance with the information they provided to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau (November 1999), the Australian authorities submitted to the Centre a desk-study report entitled “Conservation of Marine Habitats in the Region of Heard Island and McDonald Islands”. The Centre transmitted the report to IUCN for review. IUCN found the report complete and comprehensive in addressing integrity issues and the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) surrounding the existing World Heritage site. The report stressed that Australian commercial fishing within the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) around Heard and McDonald Islands (HMI) is subject to the Australian Fisheries Management Act (1991).  Fisheries tend to be concentrated in two main areas rather than being dispersed over the whole marine plateau region, thus reducing potential impacts on the marine environment. Some illegal fishing has been reported in the north eastern parts of HMI, targeting tooth-fish. Despite existing opportunities for recreation and tourism the level of visitation is very low due to access and climatic constraints.

The report notes that bottom trawling for Patagonian tooth-fish and mackerel ice-fish is currently the primary threat to the benthic environment of HMI, but to date no study has been undertaken to examine the effects of trawling on this area. Following a detailed assessment of biophysical and biological characteristics of the marine environment the report recommends that a Marine Protected Area (MPA) be established to protect unique features of HMI’s marine environment.  Five areas, encompassing 68,320km², have been identified for protection in reserves compatible to IUCN protected area category I, in addition to the existing protection given to the territorial sea.

Action Required

The Bureau commends the State Party for preparing and submitting a thorough report that provides a sound technical basis for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and to enhance conservation of the Heard and McDonald Islands World Heritage site.  The Bureau invites the State Party to consider implementing the recommendations of the report and submit a progress report to the twenty-fifth ordinary session of the Bureau in 2001.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

N/A

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 24 BUR IV.B.24

IUCN acknowledged the comprehensive report from the State Party, which focused on fisheries impact, particularly in relation to Patagonian tooth fish and mackerel icefish. IUCN furthermore commended the recommendation to establish a marine protected area and urged action on this to complement the values of the existing World Heritage site.

The Bureau commended the State Party for preparing and submitting a thorough report that provided a sound technical basis for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and to enhance conservation of the Heard and McDonald Islands World Heritage site.  The Bureau invited the State Party to submit a progress report for information to the twenty-fifth ordinary session of the Bureau in 2001.