After years in preparation, the Australian Government has announced its plan for a network of marine parks and protected marine sanctuaries around our coast. These ‘national parks of the seas’ will protect our marine life, help replenish fish stocks and ensure the special link we have with our oceans is secure.
It will be the largest network of marine protected areas in
the world. The number of marine reserves around Australia will increase from 27
to 60, expanding the national network to cover more than a third of
Commonwealth waters (3.1 million square kilometers). While most of this area
will be marine park (parts of which will still allow forms of commercial and
recreational fishing), around nine per cent of Australia’s territorial waters
will now be properly protected to national park standard through the creation
of marine sanctuaries. This is an area of ocean greater than the size of New
Overall the proposed system of zoning is a very significant step forward
for marine conservation in Australia and globally, however there are some
important areas that have not yet received the right level of protection.
During the 60 days public consultation period from 12 July to 10 September
2012, HSI will be asking the
government to make improvements to its plans in a number of areas.
Around the globe, fisheries are collapsing and biodiversity is in steep decline. Locally fisheries are on the verge of collapse, hundreds of seals, sea lions, seabirds and dolphins continue to be killed every year in trawl nets, and pollution and climate change are having an insidious and silent impact.
The choice for the Australian Government and the Environment Minister Tony Burke is stark. He can listen to science and create a network of large marine sanctuaries so that our marine life is protected forever. Alternatively, he could compromise under pressure from interests such as the oil and gas industry, and create small, inadequate sanctuaries which offer little protection.
For more information and to submit your comments on the
final Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Proposal see
For a map of the proposed network see -
Protecting Critical Marine Habitats
Australia has one of the largest marine territories in the
world. A huge variety of fish, sharks, whales and seals live in our continent’s
spectacular submerged mountain ranges, deep sea canyons and both cool and
tropical coral reefs. Such extraordinary underwater features provide critical
habitat for traveling endangered turtles, threatened Australian sea lions,
bizarre leafy sea dragons, ancient old growth coral gardens and over half of
the world’s species of whales and dolphins, including the magnificent blue whale.
Many critical habitat areas for our marine species – where our threatened marine species feed and breed, are not currently provided with the protection they need. HSI is therefore working on a number of fronts to ensure that critical habitats are a key consideration in the development of a network of marine sanctuaries around Australia.
To read HSI's report Protecting Critical Marine Habitats download PDF (2525 kB)
HSI’s activities nationwide
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect our marine life. HSI is working at a national level, engaging actively in each of the regions, calling for the inclusion of critical habitat areas within proposed sanctuaries. Each of these regions has a specific campaign to ensure the biodiversity values are given sufficient attention in each region.
General Marine Campaign Information
HSI Welcomes the world's largest network of Marine reserves
The globally significant waters of south west Australia is a unique part of Australia under threat. Up to 90% of the marine life in the South West alone is found nowhere else on Earth. With less than 1% of the region protected, HSI is collaborating with 10 other Australian and international conservation organisations working to protect and secure Australia’s unique marine life in this region through Save Our Marine Life. As part of this coalition we are calling for the creation of large marine sanctuaries off the coast of south west Australia. To find out more about Save Our Marine Life see:
The newly released report Atlantis Found: Underwater Icons of Australia’s Unique South West (download PDF 6965 kB) seeks to uncover 10 of these spectacular hot spots for unique marine life off the South West coast.
New report finds Marine sanctuaries an important economic investment
developing Australia's national system of marine reserves: A statement of concern about the proposal for Australia's south west Marine Region
HSI submission for marine sanctuary network in Australia's south west
Record public support registered for South Western marine sanctuaries
Promise to protect marine life at risk as oil drilling threatens south west oceans
Proposed Southwest marine parks plan falls short
New Alliance calls for Marine Sanctuaries for Dolphins, Marine Life and Tourists
First Science-Based Blueprint to Protect Southwest Oceans Released
Protect our Marine Life - Take Action to help convince Minister Burke to protect our unique marine life
North and North-West
HSI is working with national and regional environment groups to ensure Northern Australia's tropical sea life is protected in an extensive network of marine sanctuaries. HSI is part of Save Out Tropical Sealife, an alliance of conservation groups working to ensure the topical sea life of Australia's north and northwest is fully protected in a world class network of large marine sanctuaries from Kalbarri WA to the tip of Cape York QLD. To find out more visit www.saveourtropicalsealife.org.au
HSI Submission on Northwest Commonwealth Marine Reserves network proposal
December 2, 2011 download PDF (441.2 kB)
HSI Submission on North Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network Proposal
Action Alert - Save our Tropical Sea Life
Australia's North and Northwest teeming with rare and threatened marine life - new reports
November 4, 2011 download PDF (119.5 kb)
REPORT: Wild Blue Yonder: Fifteen underwater places for protection in Australia's spectacular northwest
November 4, 2011
REPORT: Twelve Tropical Sea Treasures: Underwater icons of Northern Australia
November 4, 2011
Rare Marine Life abandoned by Federal Government Marine Park Plan
August 23 2011 download PDF (145 kb)
New Alliance Pressures feds to protect tropical sea life
June 29 2011 download PDF (892.4 kB)
Lying adjacent and seaward of the great Barrier Reef, in a remote oceanic environment, the Coral Sea is separated from the Great Barrier Reef by an area of deep water known as the Queensland Trough, protected from effects of coastal influences such as urban run-off and pollution. Due to this location, it has largely avoided the destructive fate of other coral reefs worldwide, including the closely related Great Barrier Reef.
HSI has joined ten other organizations as part of the campaign to Protect our Coral Sea. Our goal is the establishment of a large world-class, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea that will provide a safe haven for marine life and recognize its historic significance. For more information about the campaign see:
HSI submission on Coral Sea commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Proposal
February 12, 2012 download PDF (184.5 kB)
Underwater legend Valerie Taylor urges protection of the Coral Sea - While we still have time
January 13, 2012 download PDF (243.2 kB)
Protect the Coral Sea - Narrated by Valerie Taylor
January 2012 Watch Video
Coral Sea - unprotected public reefs (maps)
December 2, 2011 download File
ACTION ALERT - Act now to help protect our Coral Sea
November 3 2011 click here
Queenslanders support visionary protection for our Coral Sea
November 3, 2011 download PDF (189.7 kB)
Australia's Coral Sea: A predator hot spot - First comprehensive scientific study of area's spectacular marine life released
August 20, 2012 click here
FACTSHEET: Australia's Coral Sea: A Biophysical Profile (PDF)
REPORT: Australia's Coral Sea: A Biophysical Profile (PDF) by marine ecologist Dr. Daniela Ceccarelli
Australia's Coral Sea: Home to over 300 threatened species
October 20 2010 download PDF (61.2 kB)
HSI is actively working with other conservation organizations to ensure that the marine life of the East coast, south of the Coral Sea, is similarly protected, and the critical habitat areas are included within proposed marine sanctuaries.
HSI Submission on temperate east commonwealth marine reserves network proposals
February 22, 2012 download PDF (315 kB)
Missed opportunity on Marine Protection
November 11, 2011 download PDF (113.8 kB)
General Marine Campaign Information
HSI welcomes marine reserve network
June 14, 2012 click here
Stop playing politics with marine parks say conservation groups
June 2, 2011 download PDF (634.9 kB)