It’s time to celebrate! Today marks the 10th anniversary of Ningaloo Reef in WA being protected in a world leading marine sanctuary. It’s also a decade since Australia became a global leader in marine protection when a third of the Great Barrier Reef was safeguarded against exploitation.
Despite the many threats the Great Barrier Reef is currently facing, it’s clear that both here and at Ningaloo Reef, sanctuaries are an environmental, social and economic success.
They are tourism powerhouses, local communities have thrived around them, and science research has documented the benefits they produce for our oceans and marine life, including dugongs, whale sharks, turtles and dolphins.
Did you know research has established that coral reefs protected in sanctuaries are six times more resistant to disease and also climate change than reefs elsewhere? And you might have seen on ABC’s Catalyst last week that new research shows half of young fish on the Great Barrier Reef are coming from the third that is protected as a sanctuary.
We’ve travelled to both sides of the country to document how the people who live around them feel about their sanctuaries. Here’s the first of our new Sea and Me videos: http://www.saveourmarinelife.org.au/the-sea-and-me/
Along with the research being conducted, it’s local communities that provide the best insight into the impact and also benefits of sanctuaries. This video and others that we’ll share with you over the next couple of months present people’s stories about how having some of the best examples of sanctuary-level protection on their doorstep has not prevented, and in fact has improved, their ability to enjoy and continue their favourite pastimes.
The ground-breaking sanctuaries at Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as our new national network of sanctuaries, were the result of over ten years of work by all sides of politics. Right now, as the Abbott Government decides the future of our new national network which it has suspended from operation, the Ningaloo anniversary is an important reminder that our sanctuaries should be a proud legacy for all our politicians.
This summer, let’s take the time to enjoy and celebrate Australia’s marine safe havens while sending a clear message to our nation’s leaders: Save Our Sanctuaries for our marine life and way of life. Watch this space to find out how.