Send Email Marine Parks

Help make history on WA’s south coast


Submissions close THIS SUNDAY, 16 June.
Australia’s other great reef needs your help.

The Great Southern Reef is home to more species than the Great Barrier Reef, including giant kelp forests, sea lions, blue gropers, giant cuttlefish, rock lobsters, bluefin tuna, southern right whales, and sea dragons.

But, there is currently zero marine sanctuary protection in the coastal waters of the Great Southern Reef along a 1000 kilometre stretch of WA’s south coast.

The Western Australian government has now released draft plans to create a new WA South Coast Marine Park, and they want our feedback.

This could be a historic moment where we help create Australia’s next great marine park.

Help protect this critical stretch of our Great Southern Reef – from east of Bremer Bay to the South Australian border – by making sure the WA Government keeps the fully-protected marine sanctuaries in the draft. We also need to urge the government to increase marine sanctuary protection for crucial areas that are missing from the draft plans, including the Recherche Archipelago off Esperance and habitat for endangered species like southern right whales and Australian sea lions.

Add your name to the call for strong marine sanctuaries in WA’s new South Coast Marine Park!

Creating a network of strong marine sanctuaries will help keep marine life healthy, support sustainable fishing, and preserve our treasured coastal lifestyle for future generations.

 

Show/Hide Submission Text
Pressing send will email this submission to the WA government in support of strong marine sanctuary protection in the new South Coast Marine Park.

Dear Premier Cook and the Western Australian Government,

[YOUR OPTIONAL PERSONAL MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE]

I welcome the creation of the South Coast Marine Park. This is an incredible opportunity to protect a critical stretch of Australia’s globally significant Great Southern Reef – from east of Bremer Bay to the South Australian border – and to make sure future generations can enjoy WA’s much-loved south coast.

I support the joint management plans and the aspirations of the Traditional Owners of the south coast and recognise their enduring cultural connection and management of Sea Country.

Australia’s Great Southern Reef has more unique species than the Great Barrier Reef.¹ But there is currently no sanctuary protection in coastal waters along WA’s south coast – a huge part of this extraordinary reef. With temperate reef species at higher risk of extinction than tropical species,² I commend the WA Government and Traditional Owners for taking this important step in the creation of this marine park.

I strongly support and ask you to retain the fully protected sanctuaries within the draft zoning plans.

However, I urge you to increase protection in areas where crucial sanctuaries are missing for key habitats and species, including for endangered Australian sea lions, calving hotspots for endangered southern right whales, nearshore coastal protection, and for the rich diversity of marine life in the Recherche Archipelago.

To ensure the marine park achieves the world-class conservation outcomes the environment warrants, it is critically important that the zoning design follows the established scientific principles of comprehensiveness, adequacy and representativeness to create a network of well-connected sanctuary areas.

In addition to retaining the proposed sanctuaries in the plans, I urge you to increase sanctuary protection to adequately protect the values that are missing or fall short of best practice, including the following areas and their surrounds:

  • Point Ann area – one of only three large, established calving areas known to exist for endangered southern right whales in Australia.³
  • Mason Bay – high concentration of mapped shallow reefs.
  • Munglinup – connectivity with land nature reserve and a unique estuary with reefs.
    Investigator Island – Australian sea lion breeding habitat,⁴ also some of the area’s most unique reefs, pinnacles and banks.
  • Cape Le Grand – some of the most extensive rhodolith,⁵ seagrass,⁶ rocky reefs, kelp and island habitats that are under-represented in the Recherche Archipelago.
  • Membinup – offshore area contains extensive seagrass meadows,⁷ kelp, reefs and island habitats.
  • Cape Arid – high diversity of endemic fish species⁸ and extensive bare reef habitat.
  • Round Island – critical breeding habitat for the survival of endangered Australian sea lions,⁹ also a breeding site for little penguins.¹⁰
  • Israelite Bay – one of only three large, established calving areas known to exist for endangered southern right whales in Australia.¹¹
  • Six Mile Island – one of the highest numbers of Australian sea lion pups in the region,¹² also a breeding site for little penguins.¹³

If any of these increases are not possible in these areas, I urge you to provide high levels of protection of similar values in other locations in the marine park.

Creating a world-class network of sanctuary zones within the South Coast Marine Park – like at Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef – is an opportunity to achieve a truly world-class conservation outcome for this unique and special part of Western Australia, to help keep our marine life healthy and support sustainable fishing and our treasured coastal lifestyle into the future.

West Australians are right behind south coast marine sanctuaries. YouGov polling from October 2023 found that 86 percent of West Australians, and 84 percent who identify as recreational fishers, support the creation of a network of fully protected marine sanctuaries in coastal waters east of Bremer Bay.

I support the provision of fair and reasonable compensation for any affected south coast commercial fishers to adjust their operations if required.

Further, I ask for the entire marine park, from east of Bremer Bay to the SA border and out to the state water limit, to exclude oil and gas exploration and extraction as these industrial activities are incompatible with marine biodiversity conservation and would put our south coast at risk.

I commend the Cook Government and the Traditional Owners for putting forward a plan to protect these globally significant waters that will be an asset for all West Australians, alongside Ningaloo and the Great Kimberley Marine Park. I urge for increased levels of protection to safeguard the south coast’s diverse marine life, sustainable fishing and treasured coastal lifestyle into the future.

Please count this as my submission to the South Coast Marine Park draft management plans.

References:

  1. Edgar, G.J., Stuart-Smith, R.D., Heather, F.J. et al. (2023). Continent-wide declines in shallow reef life over a decade of ocean warming. Nature, 615, 858-865.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Department of Environment. (2024). Eubalaena australis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. DCCEEW.
  4. Goldsworthy, S.D., Shaughnessy, P.D., Mackay, A.I. et al. (2021). Assessment of the status and trends in abundance of a coastal pinniped, the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea. Endangered Species Research, 44, 421-437.
  5. Harvey, A., Harvey, R. M. & Merton, E. (2016). The distribution, significance and vulnerability of Australian rhodolith beds: A review. Marine and Freshwater Research. 68(3), 411-428.
  6. CSIRO. (2015). Seagrass Dataset – CAMRIS. v1. DCCEEW.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Fox, N.J., & Beckley, L.E. (2005). Priority areas for conservation of Western Australian coastal fishes: A comparison of hotspot, biogeographical and complementarity approaches. Biological Conservation, 125(4), 399-410.
  9. Goldsworthy, S.D., Shaughnessy, P.D., Mackay, A.I. et al. (2021). Assessment of the status and trends in abundance of a coastal pinniped, the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea. Endangered Species Research, 44, 421-437.
  10. CSIRO National Collections and Marine Infrastructure (NCMI) Information and Data Centre (IDC). (2023). Western Australia Seabirds Breeding Islands. v1.0. OBIS Australia Node manager.
  11. Department of Environment. (2024). Eubalaena australis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. DCCEEW.
  12. Goldsworthy, S.D., Shaughnessy, P.D., Mackay, A.I. et al. (2021). Assessment of the status and trends in abundance of a coastal pinniped, the Australian sea lion Neophoca cinerea. Endangered Species Research, 44, 421-437.
  13. CSIRO National Collections and Marine Infrastructure (NCMI) Information and Data Centre (IDC). (2023). Western Australia Seabirds Breeding Islands. v1.0. OBIS Australia Node manager.

Regards,

[YOUR NAME AND DETAILS WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ADDED HERE]

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A map of our opportunity for a South Coast Marine Park in WA.

 

Feature image: A leafy sea dragon and an Australian sea lion amongst kelp in the Great Southern Reef along WA’s south coast. Image by Scott Portelli.