Limmen Bight Marine Park
The Northern Territory government is responsible for the management of waters extending from the coastline out to 3 nautical miles, or 5.5 kilometers, including bays and estuaries. AMCS has worked for many years to advocate for marine parks in the Top End and welcomed the 2012 announcement of the Territory's third marine park – Limmen Bight Marine Park. The Territory's marine parks equate to 4.4% of NT waters, or around 3200 km2. Of this only 700km2 – less than 1% - are highly protected marine sanctuaries which provide the best possible protection for our marine life. The two longer standing marine parks are Kakadu National Park and Cobourg Marine Park.
In May 2012 the Territory government announced the establishment of a new marine park – Limmen Bight Marine Park. The 880km2 marine park is in the south-west corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria alongside a new Limmen National Park and includes Maria Island. AMCS has long called for this dugong-haven to be protected due to its extensive seagrass meadows, and nesting sites for flatback turtles.
Seagrass is not only important for big animals like dugong but also tiny prawns and rare seahorses and pipefish which seek protection and nourishment in its greenery. Limmen's sandy beaches provide nesting sites for flatback turtles and the region's wetlands and inter-tidal mudflats are an internationally important site for migratory shorebirds. Over one hundred species of fish are recorded in this precious area including the threatened freshwater sawfish.
AMCS recognises that marine sanctuaries – like national parks on land, are the best way to protect our marine biodiversity. Currently a management plan for the Limmen Bight Marine Park is being created and AMCS encourages the NT Government to adopt scientifically proven sanctuary zones within the park. AMCS recognises the Marra people as the traditional owners of these waters and believes they should be involved in jointly managing the park, if that is their wish, as they have a unique role to play in caring for sea country.