World Heritage

Management Responsibilities

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area incorporates several different tenure types including private, leasehold, town, national and marine parks, other reserves and unallocated crown land. As a result, many agencies and groups share management responsibilities for the World Heritage Area, including all three levels of government and private land owners.

Australian Government

The Australian Government has primary responsibility for the development and implementation of national policy on World Heritage matters, and for reporting on the management of Australia’s World Heritage properties to UNESCO.

Government of Western Australia

The Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife is the lead agency for the day-to-day management of Shark Bay’s World Heritage values.

Parks and Wildlife is responsible for

  • managing terrestrial and marine estate under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, Environmental Protection Act 1986 and other relevant state and federal legislation;
  • overseeing the development and implementation of management plans (terrestrial and marine);  
  • liaising with agencies, land owners and other parties to ensure that development and management activities do not threaten World Heritage values;
  • consulting with agencies and the community to identify and regularly review priorities for the protection of World Heritage values;
  • conducting or encouraging relevant research; and
  • distributing information and implementing educational activities.

Parks and Wildlife also reports to the Australian Government on the protection, conservation, presentation, rehabilitation and transmission to future generations of the World Heritage Area, as per the requirements of the World Heritage Convention.

Numerous other state government agencies and authorities also have key responsibilities in the management of the World Heritage Area. Click here to learn how the Parks and Wildlife  works with them.

Local Government

The Shark Bay World Heritage Area is located in the Shires of Shark Bay and Carnarvon. Along with their usual municipal roles, the shires’ responsibilities include, but are not limited to

  • managing shire reserves within the World Heritage Area;
  • working with state government agencies and other key stakeholders to ensure World Heritage values aren’t compromised; and
  • providing input into the management planning process for the World Heritage Area via their role as major stakeholders.

The Shire of Shark Bay is also responsible for the operation of the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre in Denham.

Private land owners

Private land owners and occupiers must ensure their activities do not have adverse impacts on World Heritage values. For example, they are discouraged from land clearing and overstocking. They are also responsible for preventing the introduction of additional feral animal and weed species, and for controlling any new populations which occur.

Some recreation and tourism activities occur on, or are accessed via, pastoral leases and other private lands. Land owners and occupiers are encouraged to monitor and manage any damage caused by this visitation. They are also encouraged to restrict or prevent access to degraded areas and to rehabilitate such sites. These efforts ensure Shark Bay’s values are enjoyed by current and future generations.