It’s been a whirlwind couple of months since the new year as the nation heads towards a federal election, so we wanted to update with a few highlights and to thank everyone for their support:
THE LAST SEA TREASURE
Our new short film about the Coral Sea, The Last Sea Treasure starring ocean legend Valerie Taylor, has just finished touring Queensland, with seven packed out screenings along the coast.
Our Coral Sea – the cradle to the Great Barrier Reef and one of the last wild places on Earth where ocean giants still thrive – is the most at risk from the ‘Abbott review’ of our suspended sanctuaries around Australia. So it’s been extremely powerful to show the level of community support for the Coral Sea. Thanks to everyone who came along.
SAND SCULPTURE FOR SANCTUARIES
Meanwhile, around the country, communities continue to take a stand for our sanctuaries – emailing, writing to and visiting local MPs, and coming up with creative ways to keep the pressure on. Have a look at this timelapse of our Sand Sculpture for Sanctuaries event, organised a few weeks ago with local Perth supporters.
TOP SCIENTISTS SPEAK OUT
Australia’s top marine scientists have called on the Turnbull Government to reject proposed cut backs to marine sanctuary protection and expansion of commercial fishing.
The Ocean Science Council of Australia’s (OSCA) analysis says Australia must increase ocean protection to deliver on the Government promise for a world-class, science-based network of marine parks.
“We have seen little evidence that the review process has focused on scientific evidence, rather it appears to have largely been an exercise in appeasing stakeholders with extractive interests,” the OSCA members state in the analysis report.
The release of the Review’s report into our suspended national network of sanctuaries continues to be delayed and we’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure our sanctuaries are saved. Last week the campaign team was in Parliament House, meeting with MPs and decision makers and making your voice heard.
FISHERS SUPPORT SANCTUARIES
Divers, businesses and local communities around Australia have already spoken out for sanctuaries over the last year. But right now, it’s crucial the government hears that recreational fishers support sanctuaries too. Thank you to the 5000 of you who have signed the petition over the last two weeks to say ‘I fish and I support sanctuaries’.
VALENTINE’S DAY SANCTUARY LOVE
In NSW, where overwhelming community support led to many of our coastal marine sanctuaries being restored to high protection status last year, now the pressure is on for Premier Mike Baird to restore the remaining 10 still at risk.
Everyday throughout February, concerned locals delivered a rose with a message of support for sanctuaries to the Premier’s office, a wonderful Valentine’s Day ‘Paddle Out’ took place at Manly’s local sanctuary, and the Premier and Manly residents have been driving past a giant 8-metre billboard every day for the last month reminding them that the rest of NSW deserves their sanctuaries too!
THE GREAT KIMBERLEY MARINE PARK
In Western Australia, support for the Kimberley’s Roebuck Bay broke the record for WA submissions last year. Now in January, with our partner groups, we’ve set a new record with 16,000 submissions in support of the extraordinary Horizontal Falls – described by David Attenborough as one of the natural wonders of the world. Thank you to everyone who helped.
The WA Government has just announced WA’s biggest marine park in the North Kimberley and we’ll be in touch soon with how you can help make sure the North Kimberley Marine Park is truly world class!
SUPERTRAWLER SENATE INQUIRY
Following the deaths of protected dolphins, seals and albatross, the nation was shocked to learn that the Supertrawler recently caught a whale shark – the world’s largest fish!
In partnership with the Stop the Trawler alliance, 10,000 of you have just written to the Senate Inquiry into the impacts of the Supertrawler on our marine life and our local communities. This is a great result and we will not stop until the Supertrawler is permanently banned from Australian waters.