ACT NOW: Call for a world-class South Coast Marine Park
The West Australian government has just released draft plans to create a new South Coast Marine Park and they’re asking for your feedback!
This is an incredible opportunity to protect a critical stretch of Australia’s globally significant Great Southern Reef – from east of Bremer Bay to the South Australian border – and to make sure future generations can enjoy WA’s much-loved south coast.
There are still crucial areas of sanctuary missing in the draft plans – for endangered Australian sea lions and southern right whales, for nearshore coastal protection, and for the rich diversity of marine life in the Recherche Archipelago off Esperance.
Add your name to the form on the right and help secure strong sanctuary protection today!
By adding your name in support of sanctuaries, the South Coast Marine Park can be a world-class marine park to rival the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo.
Rare and unprotected
Australia’s Great Southern Reef has more unique species than the Great Barrier Reef. But there is currently zero sanctuary protection in coastal waters along this 1000km stretch of WA’s south coast – a huge part of this extraordinary reef!
With temperate reef species at higher risk of extinction than tropical species, the WA government’s creation of a marine park is an excellent first step.
Why sanctuaries matter
Marine parks with large, fully protected sanctuaries safeguard feeding and breeding areas, increase fish populations, and build resilience in the face of climate change.
Creating a network of sanctuaries along WA’s south coast will help keep our marine life healthy and support sustainable fishing and our treasured coastal lifestyle into the future.
This is also a great opportunity to ask the WA government to make the whole South Coast Marine Park oil and gas free – to protect the south coast from any future destructive seismic blasting and oil spills.
Read the letter text
My submission to the draft management plans for the South Coast Marine Park
Dear Premier Cook and the WA Government,
I welcome the creation of the South Coast Marine Park. This is an incredible opportunity to protect a critical stretch of Australia’s globally significant Great Southern Reef – from east of Bremer Bay to the South Australian border – and to make sure future generations can enjoy WA’s much-loved south coast.
I support the joint management plans and the aspirations of the Traditional Owners of the south coast and recognise their enduring cultural connection and management of Sea Country.
Australia’s Great Southern Reef has more unique species than the Great Barrier Reef. But there is currently no sanctuary protection in coastal waters along WA’s south coast – a huge part of this extraordinary reef. With temperate reef species at higher risk of extinction than tropical species, I commend the WA Government and Traditional Owners for taking this important step in the creation of this marine park.
I strongly support and ask you to retain the fully protected sanctuaries within the draft zoning plans.
However, I urge you to increase protection in areas where crucial sanctuaries are missing for key habitats or species, including for endangered Australian sea lions, calving hotspots for endangered southern right whales, nearshore coastal protection, and for the rich diversity of marine life in the Recherche Archipelago.
To ensure the marine park achieves the world-class conservation outcomes the environment warrants, it is critically important that the zoning design follows the established scientific principles of representation, comprehensiveness, and adequacy to create a network of well-connected sanctuary areas.
In addition to retaining the proposed sanctuaries in the plans, I urge you to increase sanctuary protection to adequately protect the values that are missing or fall short of best practice, including the following areas and their surrounds:
- Point Ann area – one of only three endangered southern right whale calving hotspots in Australia.
- Mason Bay – highest concentration of mapped shallow reefs outside the Recherche Archipelago.
- Munglinup – connectivity with land nature reserve and a unique estuary with reefs.
- Investigator Island – Australian sea lion breeding habitat, also some of the area’s most unique reefs, pinnacles and banks.
- Cape Le Grand – some of the most extensive rhodolith, seagrass, rocky reefs, kelp and island habitats that are under-represented in the Recherche Archipelago.
- Membinup – offshore area features extensive seagrass meadows, kelp, reefs and island habitats.
- Cape Arid – high diversity of endemic fish species and extensive bare reef habitat.
- Round Island – critical breeding habitat for the survival of endangered Australian sea lions, also a breeding site for little penguins.
- Israelite Bay – one of only three endangered southern right whale calving hotspots in Australia.
- Six Mile Island – one of the highest numbers of Australian sea lion pups in the region, also a breeding site for little penguins.
If any of these increases are not possible in these areas, I urge you to provide high levels of protection of similar values in other locations in the marine park.
Creating a world-class network of sanctuary zones within the South Coast Marine Park – like at Ningaloo and the Great Barrier Reef – is an opportunity to achieve a truly world-class conservation outcome for this unique and special part of Western Australia, to help keep our marine life healthy and support sustainable fishing and our treasured coastal lifestyle into the future.
West Australians are right behind south coast marine sanctuaries. YouGov polling from October 2023 found that 86 percent of West Australians, and 84 percent who identify as recreational fishers, support the creation of a network of fully protected marine sanctuaries in coastal waters east of Bremer Bay.
I support the provision of fair and reasonable compensation for any affected south coast commercial fishers to adjust their operations if required.
Further, I ask for the entire marine park, from east of Bremer Bay to the SA border and out to the state water limit, to exclude oil and gas exploration and extraction as these industrial activities are incompatible with marine biodiversity conservation and would put our south coast at risk.
I commend the Cook Government and the Traditional Owners for putting forward a plan to protect these globally significant waters that will be an asset for all West Australians, alongside Ningaloo and the Great Kimberley Marine Park. I urge for increased levels of protection to safeguard the south coast’s diverse marine life, sustainable fishing and treasured coastal lifestyle into the future.
Please count this as my submission to the South Coast Marine Park draft management plans.
If you want more information or guidance to write your own submission, contact us at email@example.com
Help protect endangered marine life and a critical part of the Great Southern Reef. Support a strong South Coast Marine Park in Western Australia today!