As we head into the holiday season, we want to THANK YOU for your support and everything we’ve achieved together this year for our marine life.
2016 has been an extraordinary year for our oceans. We’ve seen the most extreme and devastating changes, with unprecedented coral bleaching, mangrove dieback and loss of kelp forests around Australia.
Yet, at the same time, support for sanctuaries has reached new heights – we are so close to finalising our National Network of Marine Sanctuaries (the world’s largest!). And globally, it’s been an incredible year with the creation of big marine parks in the Antarctic, Hawaii, the Arctic, Pitcairn and the Atlantic, and promises just last week from Mexico, Cambodia, New Zealand, and the Arab Emirates.
Here are a few highlights of what you helped to achieve in 2016:
Following overwhelming community outrage, the Supertrawler – which killed protected dolphins, seals and even a whaleshark – is finally gone from Australian waters!
Thank you for helping to make this happen. Together we’ll continue our work to ensure that NO foreign freezer factory trawlers can wreak havoc on our marine life, fisheries and fishing communities again.
ONE OF WORLD’S GREATEST NATURAL WONDERS PROTECTED
Thanks to thousands of you breaking submission records,
the WA Government and the Dambimangari Traditional Owners announced the new Lalang-Garram Horizontal Falls Marine Park, protecting the extraordinary Horizontal Falls, described by David Attenborough as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world’.
WA’S BIGGEST MARINE PARK CREATED
This was closely followed by the creation of the North Kimberley Marine Park, part of which will be jointly managed by the Balanggarra Traditional Owners. The Park extends over 19,000km2 of the most pristine and remote waters of the Kimberley – making it by far the biggest marine park in Western Australia.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen.
The North Kimberley and Horizontal Falls are two important steps towards the creation of a Great Kimberley Marine Park to protect the iconic Kimberley coast in north-west Australia.
BP OUT OF THE BIGHT!
Following community opposition right around Australia, oil giant BP abandoned its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park – one of Australia’s biggest and most precious marine parks, home to crucial southern right whale and sea lion nurseries.
A huge thank you to everyone who spoke out, and a big congratulations to The Wilderness Society, Sea Shepherd and the Great Australian Bight Alliance who led the charge.
RESTORING THE WORLD’S LARGEST NETWORK OF MARINE SANCTUARIES
Australia’s world-leading National Network of Marine Sanctuaries remains suspended, with the Abbott-era Review proposing devastating cutbacks to national icons such as the Coral Sea, Lord Howe, Perth Canyon, Bremer Bay and the Great Australian Bight.
But thanks to your support, all sides of politics are hearing loud and clear that the Australian people want our suspended National Network of Marine Sanctuaries restored, with no loss of protection and no further delay. We are now SO close to winning!
• An inspiring and extraordinary show of support for sanctuaries around Australia throughout the year resulted in a federal election commitment by both Labor and the Greens to fully restore the Network. Meanwhile the Turnbull Government made a Budget commitment to complete the Network by July 2017. We’re now working hard to ensure the Government delivers on this commitment and rejects proposed cutbacks to our icons.
• More than 50,000 of you made a submission asking the Turnbull Government to reject these devastating cutbacks – an incredible achievement. Including from more than 5000 recreational fishers, who know that sanctuaries help ensure fish for the future, as well as helping reefs to recover from damaging coral bleaching.
• 100 dive operators, more than 1000 businesses, and thousands of divers have spoken out in support. Meanwhile communities around Australia 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.
• Australia’s top marine scientists have called on the Turnbull Government to reject proposed cutbacks to 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.
• The Coral Sea – the cradle to our Great Barrier Reef – remains most at risk, even though its protection is crucial to the future of both these icons. Ten packed-out screenings around the coast of The Last Sea Treasure, starring ocean legend Valerie Taylor, were powerful in showing the level of community support for the Coral Sea. Thanks to everyone who came along.
As always, we’re inspired and overwhelmed by the collective energy and strength of sanctuaries supporters around the country.
We have incredible momentum and we will not stop until our sanctuaries are saved and supertrawlers are permanently banned 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 2017!