Montague Island is one of the most important seabird nesting areas in NSW, particularly for little penguins, wedge-tailed shearwaters, short-tailed shearwaters, sooty shearwaters, silver gulls and crested terns. It is second only to Phillip Island in Victoria for numbers of penguins and is one of Australia's major shearwater breeding sites.
Large numbers of seals were commercially harvested during the early part of this century and the island contains the only remaining Australian fur seal haul out site along the NSW coast and the northern most colony of this marine mammal in eastern Australia.
The island's habitat values will be conserved by protecting them from human disturbance and by maintenance, and as far as possible, regeneration of native vegetation. In particular, the rapid spread of kikuyu and other weeds with associated smothering of native vegetation presents a significant threat to the continued maintenance of nesting areas on the island and will be controlled.
The nature reserve contains a number of Aboriginal sites which are valuable for research and a culturally significant lightstation complex. The lightstation and other significant historic features will be maintained and where appropriate restored.
In order to protect the important natural and cultural heritage of the nature reserve, this plan of management provides for its continued occupation by Service staff, limited and strictly controlled access to most of the island and continued encouragement of research. Public access to the nature reserve will continue to be permitted by guided tours run by licensed operators.
These amendments should be read in conjunction with the Montague Island Nature Reserve Plan of Management (1996).
There are two key areas of amendments. The first relates to the number of visitors to the island. The second are various amendments to incorporate minor proposals not covered by the adopted plan.
A revision to include visitors participating in environmental management and educational activities, not just those assisting researchers, could be accommodated on the island.
Photo: Montague Island Nature Reserve / L Morrell/OEH