Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands marine parks – the next step

Last year, with your support, we created one of the largest marine sanctuary areas in the world – the globally significant Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands marine parks. 

Together we protected an area bigger than Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT combined!

We are now at the vital next step in this marine park journey. The government is asking for your view on the park management plans which is crucial to securing world-class marine protection.

The oceans surrounding Christmas and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands provide a critical haven for marine life, but they’re also under increasing pressure from industrial fishing and climate change.

From ocean surveillance to research and ranger funding, there are so many ways strong management plans can help these spectacular marine environments.

Add your name to the form on the right to send a message to the government calling for the best possible management plans for these unique and special islands. 

Image: Gary Bell Oceanwideimages | Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Read the submission

Dear Director of National Parks, 

I strongly support the globally-significant Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands marine parks in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories. 

The sanctuary zoning of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territory (IOT) marine parks makes them some of the world’s biggest, and best-protected marine areas in the world. This is a huge achievement for Australia. 

I support the current zoning plans – co-designed with the island communities – which protects 739,000km2 of Australia’s waters around the islands, while supporting the islanders’ local fishing in the nearshore.

The size and high level of this sanctuary protection will help safeguard one of the most unique and threatened marine bioregions in Australia, and significantly contribute towards Australia’s commitment to 30% protection of our marine estate by 2030.

The marine parks cover one of the most under-protected marine environments globally. Compared to other marine environments, pelagic environments have relatively few regulatory mechanisms to protect biodiversity and most management actions are associated with fisheries management. The IOT marine parks are a significant step towards enhancing conservation benefits for the pelagic environment globally.

It is crucial that the management plans ensure the strong level of protection given in the zoning plans is upheld through adequate monitoring and enforcement. This is particularly important around Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, as the high seas surrounding Australia’s EEZ in the Indo-pacific are heavily fished by international fleets. 

I support a strong emphasis on marine research and data collection in the management plans. This will help improve our understanding of the conservation outcomes of the marine parks, and the ecosystem functions of undisturbed marine ecosystems.

It is important that the management plans include a strong emphasis on co-design and management with the local communities. This will ensure better outcomes for the community and greater compliance, ultimately leading to better environmental outcomes. The government must ensure the park’s management is adequately funded and includes ranger jobs to support the local communities.

The management plans should include actions to protect the relatively undisturbed marine environment of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. They should include adaptive management and strong protections against the impacts of invasive species, marine debris, shipping and climate change. 

Strong management of the marine parks will optimise the conservation outcomes for two of Australia’s most unique and vulnerable offshore territories.

Please count this as my submission to the development of the draft management plans for the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands marine parks .

Yours sincerely,

If you’d like to edit the submission, follow this link.

The Australian Government is creating the management plans for the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Parks! Help us secure a strong plan and protect the future of our precious Indian Ocean marine life today!

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.