Save Our Marine Life
Save Our Marine Life
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Add your name to Save Our Sanctuaries

New Abbott-era plans have been released proposing massive cutbacks to marine sanctuaries in crucial hotspots around Australia.

As well as butchering our Coral Sea Sanctuary, these plans pander to the oil industry in the Kimberley and Great Australian Bight. They pave the way for destructive trawling in the North, gillnetting in the South, and cut back crucial sanctuary protection at Lord Howe and Bremer Bay – including a Southern Right Whale nursery!

Right now the Government is asking for your feedback. Add your name today to reject the cutbacks and fully restore our National Network of Sanctuaries.

Read the submission here


Dear Director of National Parks (CC Minister Frydenberg, my local MP and senators),

I urge you to improve and fully restore Australia’s Commonwealth Marine Reserves (CMRs), with no loss of their Marine National Park ‘sanctuary’ IUCN II Zoning. The recently released Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review recognises the extensive science and consultation that led to the creation of the 40 parks in 2012, but recommends reducing, relocating and in some cases removing the high level Marine National Park Zone protection declared over key habitats, particularly in the globally important Coral Sea.

The timing of the review was unprecedented and premature – conducted after 15 years of science and consultation, and before the marine reserves could become operational and proper performance assessments conducted. In the face of devastating coral bleaching, mangrove dieback and vanishing kelp forests, Australia’s Commonwealth Marine Reserves are even more important than ever. Evidence increasingly demonstrates that they help our marine environment to recover from damage and build resilience in the face of increasing impact, that they provide economic opportunities for regional communities and that they are strongly supported by the Australian public.

I urge you to ensure the 5 management plans are as science-based as possible – both the Review’s recommendations and the 2012/13 management arrangements fall short of the mark in location and level of protection for a representative CAR network. As found by Barr and Possingham (Are outcomes matching policy commitments in Australian marine conservation planning? Marine Policy 42, 39-48 2013) only a small portion of Marine National Park Zone protection was placed on the continental shelf (the most biologically diverse and important part of Australia’s marine environment) in the original 2012 declaration. The Review’s recommendations would further reduce that:

- the Review proposes no overall increase of high level/IUCN 1I & II protection on Australia’s continental shelf;

- the Review proposes a decrease in the overall protection (IUCN I & II) for the slope and deep ocean within Australian waters; and further -

- the review proposes a decrease of high level/IUCN I & II protection for the SW region, and in the other 4 regions high level/IUCN I & II protection for the shelf remains below 3%, with the Temperate East at 0%.

With this in mind, please accept the following as my submission for the development of new management plans for each of the 5 marine regions.

Yours sincerely,