Cool fact…
Average temperatures at Heard Island have risen by about 1.3 degrees Celsius since the 1940s.

International agreements

Black-browed albatross
Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) feeding chick

The declaration and ongoing management of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Marine Reserve contributes to the implementation of several international conservation agreements, including:

Follow the links above for a summary of these agreements. See also the National Agreements page.

Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention)

The World Heritage Convention, adopted in 1972, aims to ensure the proper identification, protection, conservation and presentation of cultural and natural heritage with outstanding universal value to all mankind.

The Convention provides for properties exhibiting cultural and/or natural heritage of ‘outstanding universal value’ and meeting at least one of a set of World Heritage criteria to be included on the World Heritage List.

The Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands was inscribed on the World Heritage List on 3 December 1997 for its outstanding natural universal values.

More information on the World Heritage Convention is available in the World Heritage pages of the Protection and Management section of this website.

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention)

The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The HIMI wetland is listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia and has been identified as a potential candidate for for nomination to the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention)

The Bonn Convention aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. Parties to this convention work together to conserve migratory species and their habitats.

See the Protection page in the Nature section of this website for a table that outlines migratory species recorded from the Reserve that are listed in, or under the Bonn Convention.

Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People's Republic of China for the Protection of Migratory Birds and their Environment (CAMBA)

CAMBA provides for cooperation between China and Australia on the protection of migratory birds listed in the Annex to the Agreement, and their environment, and requires each country to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of migratory birds.

See the Protection page in the Nature section of this website for a table that outlines migratory species recorded from the Reserve that are listed in, or under the CAMBA.

Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment (JAMBA)

JAMBA provides for cooperation between Japan and Australia on measures for the management and protection of migratory birds, birds in danger of extinction, and the management and protection of their environments, and requires each country to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of birds protected under the provisions of the agreement.

See the Protection page in the Nature section of this website for a table that outlines migratory species recorded from the Reserve that are listed in, or under JAMBA.

Treaty between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic on Cooperation in the Maritime Areas Adjacent to the French Southern and Antarctic Territories (TAAF), Heard Island and the McDonald Islands

The Treaty between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic on Cooperation in the Maritime Areas Adjacent to the French Southern and Antarctic Territories (TAAF), Heard Island and the McDonald Islands was signed on 24 November 2003, and entered into force on 1 February 2005.

The Treaty facilitates cooperation between Australia and France to tackle IUU fishing by establishing a framework for information exchange and cooperative surveillance and research activity by France and Australia in the Area of Cooperation, which includes the HIMI territorial sea and exclusive economic zone and the territorial sea and exclusive economic zone of the French territories of Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, Saint-Paul Island and Amsterdam Island.

Convention on Biological Diversity (the Biodiversity Convention)

Establishment of the Reserve assists Australia in meeting its obligations under the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and its commitments under the Jakarta Mandate on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity.

The Convention requires parties to pursue the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. A key feature of the Convention is the establishment of a system of protected areas, such as the Reserve, where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity.

Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)

ACAP was established under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and entered into force on 1 February 2004.

The objective of the Agreement is to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status of albatrosses and petrels by seeking concerted action by Parties to protect critical breeding habitat; control non-native species detrimental to albatrosses and petrels; implement measures to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries; and support research into the effective conservation of albatrosses and petrels.

See the Protection page in the Nature section of this website for a table that outlines outlines albatross and petrel species recorded from the Reserve. For more information on ACAP, go to the ACAP website.

Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources was established in 1980 under the Antarctic Treaty system to provide a management regime for conserving the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources was established under this convention as a policy and regulatory body to implement the objective of the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources; conservation was defined to include rational use.

The Commission determines conservation measures regulating harvesting and associated activities in the pursuit of this objective; such measures may include setting precautionary catch limits, harvesting methods and fishing seasons for species, regulating waste disposal and catch reporting.

The HIMI exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the HIMI fishery lie within the Convention area.

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention)

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of Ships was adopted on 2 November 1973, and was subsequently modified in 1978 by a Protocol that introduced stricter regulations for the survey and certification of ships.

The combined instrument, which entered into force on 2 October 1983, is usually referred to as the MARPOL Convention or MARPOL 73/78 and is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships due to operational or accidental causes.

Regulations covering the various sources of ship-generated pollution are contained in six technical Annexes; Annexes I and II, governing oil and chemicals are compulsory but annexes III, IV, V and VI on packaged materials, sewage, garbage and air pollution are optional. Australia has legislated to adopt the Convention and its Technical Annexures I, II, III, IV and V (oil, bulk noxious liquid substances, harmful substances in packaged forms, sewage and garbage, respectively).

It is expected legislation to implement MARPOL Annexure VI (control of sewage and air pollution) will be passed in 2005.

Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) entered into force on 1 July 1975, and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

CITES works by placing controls on international trade in specimens of selected species.

Several species of marine mammal found in the Reserve or recorded from waters in the HIMI region are listed under CITES Annex II, including the southern elephant seal, subantarctic fur seal, Antarctic fur seal, strap-toothed beaked whale, Commerson’s dolphin, southern bottlenose whale and spectacled porpoise.

International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, signed in 1946, was initially developed to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks to make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

It provides for the complete protection of certain species, for promoting relevant research and for designating specific areas as whale sanctuaries.

The Reserve lies within the Indian Ocean Sanctuary, which was established under the Convention in 1979 to provide freedom from disturbance for migrating and breeding great whales in an area where whales were once hunted to the brink of extinction. Australia has declared its entire EEZ, including that around HIMI, as a whale sanctuary under the EPBC Act.

See the Protection page in the Nature section of this website for a table that outlines outlines cetacean species recorded from the Reserve.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

UNCLOS was made in 1982 and entered into force for Australia in 1994. It provides a framework to regulate many aspects of the uses of the sea and the conservation of marine environment.

UNCLOS includes the right of innocent passage of foreign ships through the territorial sea. The right of innocent passage allows foreign ships to pass through the territorial sea, without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters, or proceeding to or from internal waters or a call at such roadstead or port facility. Passage must be continuous and expeditious, but includes stopping and anchoring in the course of ordinary navigation, or if it is necessary by force majeure or distress or to assist persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress.

Certain activities are specified as not being innocent passage including: launching, landing or taking on board aircraft; wilful and serious pollution contrary to UNCLOS; fishing; research or survey activities; other activities not having a direct bearing on passage.

UNCLOS requires that foreign ships enjoying the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea must comply with laws relating to certain matters, including: conservation of the living resources of the sea; prevention of infringement of the fisheries laws; preservation of the environment and the prevention, reduction and control of pollution of the environment; and, marine scientific research and hydrographic surveys.

This page was last modified on 28 February 2005.