Please send our new message

Together we have achieved an historic win for our marine life with Australia’s new reserve system. The Forgotten Four are 4 very special but threatened marine areas that we believe might be included for protection at the last moment, if we make enough noise.

Send your message below to Environment Minister Tony Burke.

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Dear Minister Burke,

Congratulations on proclaiming Australia's new network of marine reserves.

I am, however, very concerned about the fate of Australian Sea Lions which are being killed by commercial gill nets around the South West of our continent. The death of even one female can have severe implications for breeding colonies and current rates of drownings make the future of this unique species very uncertain.

I urge you to upgrade marine park zones in feeding areas surrounding Australian Sea Lion colonies to protect them from gill net fishing. In addition, independent on-board monitoring of sea lion deaths must be carried out aboard all gill net vessels in all marine jurisdictions. Only then will we know the true cost of gillnets on our unique marine life.

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 ensure:

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

2. The protection of the Bremer Canyon and its Orcas and Sperm Whales off South Coast Western Australia from seismic testing and oil drilling by zoning it a marine national park;

3. 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.

4. The protection of the waters near Kangaroo Island from seismic airgun testing and oil drilling 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 these new marine reserves so that they are properly protected for future generations.

Please count this as my submission on the proposal to prepare draft management plans for the Commonwealth Marine Reserves.

Thank you for taking action to protect these 4 forgotten special marine areas.

Yours sincerely,


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.

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 a proposal for seafloor dredge mining.

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.

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.