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  • The sanctuary slash puts seals in danger. Image © Grant Hobson

Save Our Sanctuaries: Australia’s Marine Parks are under threat!

In 2012 Australia created the world’s largest marine parks network - a global inspiration. However, in 2013 the new Abbott Government suspended these parks and ordered a ‘review’.

Now a butchery of our Marine Parks is proposed by the Turnbull Government’s new management plans. The scale of these cut backs is unprecedented globally, and will allow destructive industrial fishing and dangerous oil drilling into our precious marine parks.

We were made an election promise that this government wants to flout. We were assured that any changes to our national network of marine sanctuaries would be science-based. These new plans ignore the government's own independent science review and public opinion.

 The Kimberley, home of the whale shark, is threatened by the new plans. Image © Troy Mayne

 Why do our marine parks matter?

Our oceans under pressure more than ever - from climate change, pollution, overfishing and industry. So it’s increasingly important to set aside large areas so ecosystems can operate in their natural state.

Take action: sign now to stop the sanctuaries slash >> 

Marine Parks are vital. Like national parks on land, marine sanctuaries are special managed spaces where ocean habitats, and their animals, can thrive. This builds resilience as species breed and spread beyond sanctuary boundaries - increasing the health of all of our oceans.

Us humans are key. Sanctuaries are places we love through diving, surfing, fishing and snorkelling. They have huge economic benefit, contributing $28 billion to our economy annually.

The incredible Coral Sea © Steve Parish

The incredible Coral Sea © Steve Parish

Why are our Marine Parks at risk?

Despite their importance, the Turnbull government wants to drastically slash our sanctuaries. This will open them up to dangerous oil and gas giants, plus destructive commercial fishing - our ocean wildlife at risk.

It’s the biggest rollback in ocean protection Australia’s ever seen, butchering 40 million hectares.This is huge - an area twice that of Victoria. This is equal to cutting half of Australia’s national parks on land - an outrageous step backwards.

Tragically, the Coral Sea - the cradle to our already in danger Great Barrier Reef - is seeing some of the biggest cuts, losing 53% of sanctuaries. Our North Marine region is also losing 57% of sanctuaries.  

The North West marine sanctuaries - including the Kimberley, Shark Bay and Ningaloo - will have 54% slashed. While the huge South West - an area four times the size of the Great Barrier Reef, from Shark Bay on the mid West coast to the South Australian border - will lose 40%.

Join us: chip in to #SaveOurSanctuaries >>

What’s at risk?

Australia’s oceans are a global asset, spanning tropical, temperate and Antarctic waters. A hotspot of unique marine species, our oceans support six of the seven known species of marine turtles. Over half of all whale and dolphin species call our waters home, plus 20 per cent of the world’s fish species. As steward of the world's third-largest marine territory and the most diverse marine life on Earth, Australia has a lot at stake.

A vast ocean ‘wilderness’, the threatened Coral Sea is home to a huge array of ocean giants including marlin, deepwater sharks, and the world's largest fish - the whale shark. It’s the world’s only black marlin spawning site and a nursery for larger species: the bigger the animal, the more space needed.

Southern Right, Humpback and Blue Whales frequent our entire network of sanctuaries. With already low populations, plus increasing pressure from plastic and industrial threats, it’s essential we create safe spaces for these incredible animals to survive, revive and thrive.

The rollback of Great Australian Bight protections will have dire consequences. Juveniles of critically endangered southern bluefin tuna frequent the Bight, and will be risked. Sea Lions are highly vulnerable from being fatally entangled in Gillnets. Many large whale species migrate through the Bight, and will be threatened by drilling and industrial fishing.

In the north, the globally vulnerable dugong is found in the Gulf of Carpentaria - where sanctuaries will be slashed. The newly discovered and rare snubfin dolphin has critical habitat in the Kimberley - also to be cutback.

Dugongs are threatened by the new Marine Park cutbacks.

What can we do to save our sanctuaries?

You and I can stop this. These plans are not set in stone, they are a draft. They are open to  your feedback. Add your name to stop this madness and save our sanctuaries.

Australia’s incredible network of marine sanctuaries was created due to the support of our community. We can refuse to let our precious Marine Sanctuaries go!

Speak to  your local MP - they represent you! Call them or arrange a meeting. Tell them how concerned you are about our sanctuaries and ask them to speak out. You can find your MP on the official electorate website.

Personal recommendations are powerful. Tell your friends about what’s happening and ask them to sign to #SaveOurSanctuaries too.

Our ocean’s need you. Do something amazing to help protect them and join us today! 

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