As we head into the holiday season, we want to THANK YOU all for your support and everything we’ve achieved together this year for our marine life. Here are a few highlights:
20 SANCTUARIES SAVED IN NSW
2015 started with great news: thanks to the huge groundswell of support across New South Wales, Premier Mike Baird restored the operation of 20 marine sanctuaries that had been downgraded by the former O’Farrell Government. Since then thousands of us have been working to save the remaining 10 sanctuaries, including at Cape Byron, Port Stephens – Great Lakes, Batemans and the Solitary Islands.
RECORD-BREAKING RESPONSE FOR ROEBUCK
In the Kimberley in Western Australia – one of the last pristine ocean areas in the world – we’ve come a long way to creating the Great Kimberley Marine Park. Building on the outstanding outcome of two new marine parks in the Kimberley (at Camden Sound and Eighty Mile Beach), an incredible wave of support for a sanctuary for Roebuck Bay and its snubfin dolphins recently broke the record number of submissions for Western Australia!
SENATE SUPPORT TO SAVE OUR SANCTUARIES
Nationally, our world-leading network of marine sanctuaries remains suspended, with national treasures including the Coral Sea, Geographe Bay, Lord Howe Island, Rowley Shoals and the Great Australian Bight at risk. The Review into our national network is STILL not complete, but thanks to your support, they’re finding it difficult to wind back our sanctuaries.
Tens of thousands of you have written submissions to the Review, contacted your federal MPs throughout the year, called on Environment Minister Hunt to restore our national network, and to keep mining and commercial fishing out of our suspended sanctuaries.
Meanwhile, as a direct result of the overwhelming level of support around the country, the Australian Senate has twice now taken a strong position – calling on the Turnbull Government to reinstate our national network of sanctuaries. This is a huge step forward.
1000 BUSINESSES UNITE FOR SANCTUARIES
More than 1000 businesses have signed the Australian Business Statement for Sanctuaries, including 200 South West businesses who delivered the South West Business Statement to their local federal MP, and received a visit from Aussie music legend John Williamson to show his support.
DIVERS FOR SANCTUARIES TAKES OFF
Thousands of divers and snorkellers have joined Divers for Sanctuaries, and more than 100 dive businesses nationally have launched the Dive Industry Statement for Sanctuaries – meeting with Turnbull Government MPs to demonstrate the importance of sanctuaries in underpinning the huge value of the dive industry to the Australian economy.
SUPPORTERS DELIVER OUR MESSAGE
An inspiring group of sanctuaries supporters hand-delivered our petition calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop to end the Abbott era of marine neglect – to recognise Australia’s bipartisan history of marine protection by restoring the national network of sanctuaries.
AWARD-WINNING FILM TOUR
Earlier in the year, many of you joined us on our national tour of the award-winning Sea & Me film in coastal communities, in celebration of our sanctuaries and ocean caretakers around the country.
80 MPS GET BRIEFED
And thousands of you called on local MPs to attend global fisheries expert Dr Daniel Pauly’s briefings at Parliament House Canberra, resulting in more than 80 MPs being briefed over two days!
AUSTRALIANS STAND UP TO THE SUPERTRAWLER
Well over 100,000 of you have called for a ban on the Geelong Star (Dirk-Dirk) Supertrawler from operating in Australian waters. An incredible 15,000 of you taking action in just 36 hours meant Labor has renewed its firm opposition to the Supertrawler, along with the Greens and crossbench Senators Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Muir.
The urgency for a permanent ban on supertrawlers in Australian waters is now even greater, and we hope that the Turnbull Government will listen to the public and support a permanent ban.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SA MARINE PARKS
Meanwhile, our 83 new South Australian marine sanctuaries had their one year anniversary in October, with the initial Review into their operation vindicating the importance of their creation and benefit to regional communities.
We have incredible momentum and we will not stop until our sanctuaries are saved and the Supertrawler is gone from Australian waters.
Every action of every supporter counts, and you truly are the strength behind our success. We cannot do it without you – so THANK YOU for all that you do!
Have a happy Christmas and a great break this summer. We look forward to working with you in 2016!
The Save our Marine Life & Protect our Coral Sea team