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Email your local MP: Help protect Australia’s Heard & McDonald Islands

Lying 4,000 km southwest of Perth, the Heard and McDonald Islands are the only Sub-Antarctic island group with an entirely intact ecosystem, free of any known species directly introduced by humans! 
 
Right now, the Government is making decisions about the levels of protection for these islands.  

More than 25,000 Australians have told Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek that we want strong protection for our Sub-Antarctic marine life. But it’s vital that there are others in the Parliament who are backing this protection.  
 
You can help by telling your MP to back science-based protection to influence this decision. 
 
Will you take one minute and use the form on the right to contact your local MP and ask them to be a champion for science-based sanctuaries to safeguard Heard and McDonald Islands marine life?   
 
With your help and the support of your MP we can ensure the Heard and McDonald Islands, and the millions of marine animals that call it home, can be protected for future generations. 

Image: King penguins on Heard Island, Inger Vandyke

Read the letter text

I urge you to support science based sanctuary protection for the Australian waters surrounding Heard and McDonald Islands.

As Australians, it is our privilege and responsibility to safeguard the health of our World Heritage-listed Heard and McDonald Islands by ensuring they are protected for future generations.

Among the most remote places on Earth, these wild, volcanic islands are home to large populations of threatened seabirds and marine mammals, including seals, albatross, four species of penguin and a cormorant found nowhere else on the planet. 

The marine region supports a range of slow-growing and vulnerable benthic organisms (such as cold-water corals and sponges), several endemic fish species and nursery areas for a range of fish including Patagonian toothfish. 

They are the only Sub-Antarctic island group with an entirely intact ecosystem, free of any known species directly introduced by humans. This means that biological and evolutionary processes can occur naturally, making these islands a living test tube and important barometer of climate change.  

Despite the unique and rich conservation values of these globally recognised islands, only small sections of the waters surrounding Heard and McDonald Islands are fully protected. The marine park established in 2002 and expanded 2014 provides some marine sanctuary protection but given subsequent scientific research revealing the depth of the regions biological value and the impact of climate change they now need updating to maintain its world leading status. 

Recent science found the current marine park does not adequately protect the natural values of the region, and that increased sanctuary protection is required. 

The 10-year review of Heard and McDonald Islands marine park management plan is due to be finalised in 2024. This provides a window of opportunity to put in place stronger protections. 

I urge you to support increasing marine sanctuary protection within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone around the islands that is based on science. This can be done while keeping key areas available to the existing commercial fishing outside the sanctuaries. 

Expanding the level of fully protected marine sanctuary in the marine park would protect key habitats that are not represented, or are under-represented. For example, the current marine sanctuaries contain no meaningful examples of seamount, ridge, or canyon habitats. Including these areas within marine sanctuaries is a critical step in the completion of Australia’s National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. 

Protect the pristine ecosystem of Heard and McDonald Islands. Urge your MP to support strong, science-based marine sanctuaries 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.