Targeted Email Marine Parks

Heard and McDonald Islands science report launch - help make sure your MP attends

Far off the south-west coast of the mainland, the Heard and McDonald islands are a little-known Australian wonder that need protection.

The islands are a collection of active volcanoes and rocks soaring up out of the Southern Ocean, closer to Antarctica than WA. They are home to over four million penguins from seven different species, tens of thousands of elephant seals and fur seals, banks of slow-growing corals, and two types of flying seabirds found nowhere else on the planet.¹

These remote Sub-Antarctic islands, and an enormous ocean area around them, are an Australian territory. That means we are responsible for protecting them.

Australia's largest active volcano, Big Ben, on Heard Island and a map of Heard and McDonald Islands.Heard Island (left) hosts Australia’s biggest active volcano called Big Ben. Map (right) not to exact scale.

A new science report, written by four eminent scientists, found the Heard and McDonald Islands are under-protected in the face of encroaching threats from climate change and industrial fishing.²

On 27 March 2024, we will be launching this report in Canberra while our federal politicians are in town for parliament. It is essential that as many of them as possible attend the launch so we can build political support for increasing marine sanctuary protection in the oceans around the Heard and McDonald Islands.

Send a message to your local Member of Parliament urging them to attend the launch of the new Heard and McDonald Islands science report.

The Australian Government is currently starting a ten year review into the marine park surrounding the Heard and McDonald Islands. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to build political support for preserving these wild Sub-Antarctic islands.

Feature image of king penguins on Heard Island taken by Matt Curnock.

> References:

1. Meyer, L., Constable, A. & Williams, R. (2000). Conservation of marine habitats in the region of Heard Island and McDonald Islands.
2. Constable, A. J., Cresswell, I. D., Bax, N. J., Reid, K. (2024). Understanding the marine ecosystems surrounding Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) and their conservation status.