Protect dugong paradise in Australia's north

Limmen Bight in the Northern Territory is paradise for endangered dugongs, threatened marine turtles and other vulnerable marine life. The Federal Government has moved to protect this paradise with a new marine park but the long-standing threat of seabed mining may still be allowed to proceed unless we act now. Help convince the government to upgrade the Marine Park to a mining-free Marine National Park and protect dugong paradise forever.

Send your message below to Environment Minister Tony Burke.

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Dear Minister Burke,

Congratulations on proclaiming Australia's network of marine reserves late last year.

In particular the news that Limmen Bight in the Northern Territory, along with its dugongs and turtles, would be better protected through the creation of a marine reserve was very welcome.

I am, however, very concerned that Limmen Commonwealth Marine Reserve will still permit mining within its boundaries due to inadequate zoning and would like to make the following comments regarding its management.

North Marine Region

Please ensure the protection of Limmen Commonwealth Marine Reserve off the Northern Territory from sea bed mining by zoning it a marine national park.

Please also ensure generous funding is made available for education and the monitoring and enforcement of the North Marine Region’s marine reserves so that they are properly protected for future generations.

I would also like to make 3 comments regarding the South West Marine Region.

South West Marine Region

I request that you make all of Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve an 'oil-free' zone to ensure the protection of this hotspot for orcas and sperm whales from seismic testing and drilling for oil.

I urge the protection of the endangered Australian Sea Lion through banning the use of gill nets near Sea Lion foraging areas by changing the zoning in Marine Parks to exclude gillnets, and outside of the Marine Parks, banning gillnets through fisheries restrictions.

Congratulations on your decision to declare seismic testing off Kangaroo Island, SA, a controlled action, thereby making an environmental assessment of its impacts necessary. However I urge you to go further by declaring an oil-free zone over the entire area and ensuring that no seismic testing occurs until this zoning is in place.

Please also ensure generous funding is made available for education and the monitoring and enforcement of all new marine reserves so that they are properly protected for future generations.

Minister Burke, this is one of 4 very special but forgotten marine areas that you now have the opportunity to protect. I ask you to make changes to the zoning system in the Marine Reserve Management Plans to reflect the above.

Please count this as my submission on the management plans for the new Commonwealth Marine Reserves.

Yours sincerely,


The Forgotten Four

Limmen Bight is one of 4 very special but threatened marine areas that has not yet received the protection science says they need. Here’s the key points.

Sea Lion Grounds, WA

The Australian Sea Lion lives only off South Western Australia and is the world’s most endangered sea lion. Commercial fishing gillnets are the biggest threat to their survival. All marine park zones near colonies should be upgraded to protect sea lions from gillnet fishing.

Kangaroo Island, SA

The oil industry wants to use massively loud seismic airguns to locate oil deposits below the seafloor off the wildlife refuge of Kangaroo Island, putting endangered blue whales and sea lions at risk of injury and serious disturbance. A new oil-free zone would protect these critical feeding areas.

Bremer Canyon, WA

Just 40 kilometres off WA’s pristine South Coast lies a hotspot for orcas, sperm whales and thriving marine life that science is only just beginning to understand. A new oil-free zone would ensure proposed seismic and drilling does not drive marine life away from these important feeding grounds.

Limmen Bight, NT

Limmen Bight, in the South East corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria, supports extensive seagrass meadows. A new marine sanctuary zone would protect this global haven for threatened dugongs from seabed mining.

Thank you to the following for use of photos:

Australian Sea Lions – Ron and Valerie Taylor
Dugong – Courtesy Wilderness Society, iStockphoto
Dolphins – Tony Bartram
Orca - Jasmine Rossi

Find out more about Australia’s marine park network.