Shark Bay, Western Australia

Factors affecting the property in 1994*
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1994
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1994**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1994
Report prepared by IUCN
  1. PROPERTY: SHARK BAY (Australia)
  2. DATE INSCRIBED AND CRITERIA: 1992. i, ii, iii, iv

In response to the concerns expressed in IUCN's original technical evaluation, the Committee requested IUCN to report back on the progress with (1) implementation of the Commonwealth/State management agreement and 12) efforts to achieve more effective conservation of the site.

On the first issue, the agreement has not yet been implemented as the new government in Western Australia has stated that it wishes to revise it. This means that complementary legislation to provide for joint management structures including a Ministerial Council, Community Consultative and Scientific Advisory Committees have not been established. In the interim, the 1988 Shark Bay Region Plan is still the guiding document for management of the site.

On the second issue, substantial progress at the field level to strengthen management has occurred. This includes expansion of education and information services, removal of feral animals, construction of barrier fences and boardwalks, provision of improved visitor services, and reintroduction of burrowing bettong. A series of management plans for the marine reserves and Monkey Mia are underway as is a Fisheries plan and a Terrestrial Reserves plan. There is also evidence of much greater public support for the nomination but the number of CALM and Fisheries Department staff available to manage such a large area are still seen as insufficient. IUCN has indicated some other minor concerns (shell harvesting, dolphin feeding) to reserve managers during a site visit in April 1994.


In the 21/2 years since listing there has been reasonable progress by CALM staff at the field level in improving the conservation status of Shark Bay. The completion of the various management plans, however, has been delayed and there is concern in the local Shire Councils that not enough action has been evident. Certainly Shark Bay is well behind other World Heritage sites in Australia in terms of becoming a model of effective management. A main constraint on progress is the lack of implementation of the October 1990 Commonwealth/State agreement which the State Government now wishes to re-negotiate.

IUCN suggests to the Bureau that internal issues between the Commonwealth and the State are not a matter for intervention by the Committee. However, as assurances were given that the October 1990 agreement was to provide the management framework, the Committee will be concerned that most of this has not been operationalised. A letter from the Bureau to the Australian authorities requesting positive and concrete action by the date of the next Committee is suggested.

  • Agreement between the State of Western Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia on Legislative and Administrative Arrangements for Shark Bay Western Australia World Heritage Property. October 1990. 9 pages.
  • DEST. 1994. Shark Bay 1992-93 Monitoring Report (pages 33-37).
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1994
SOC: Shark Bay (Australia)

Shark Bay (Australia)

The Committee recalled that at the time of inscription of this site it requested IUCN to report back on the progress with respect to
(1) implementation of the Commonwealth/State management agreement and
(2) efforts to achieve more effective conservation of the site.

As the Government of Australia had assured that the October 1990 agreement was to provide the management framework for this site, the Committee was concerned that most of the provisions of the agreement have not been operationalised. Therefore, the Centre wrote to the Australian authorities requesting positive and concrete action, and was informed by the national authorities that a copy of the new agreement would be available by early December. A report from the Australian authorities is anticipated shortly.

List Shark Bay (Australia)

The Bureau was informed of a recent IUCN mission to the site giving an account on (a) the implementation of the Commonwealth and State Management Agreement which has been signed, but no further action has been taken so far and (b) on the efforts to achieve more effective conservation of the site, for which improvements have been made.

The Bureau requested the Centre to write to the Australian authorities informing them of its concerns and requesting that an up-date on progress in implementing the Agreement be presented to the next session of the Committee.

Report year: 1994
Date of Inscription: 1991
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 18COM (1994)

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.