Help Safeguard Australia’s South-east Marine Life

Off Australia’s south-eastern coastlines, three great oceans merge to create a super-abundant and unique marine environment.

Yet, this stunning region, bursting with life, has some of the poorest marine park protection in the country – something we can change! 

Right now, the Australian Government is reviewing the network of marine parks off south-eastern Australia and has asked for your input.

We have an extremely rare opportunity to more than double the area fully protected in marine sanctuaries – we just need your quick support.

Add your name and help protect our threatened south-east seabirds, dolphins and whales.

Read the letter text

Dear Director of National Parks,

(cc Minister Plibersek, Senator Duniam, Senator Whish-Wilson), 

I support increasing marine sanctuary protection in Australia’s South-east Marine Parks Network. 

In Australia’s south-east waters, three great oceans merge to create a super-abundant and unique marine environment. A huge upwelling of deep nutrient-rich water is created when the warm currents of the Pacific and Indian Oceans combine with the cold Southern Ocean. 

Here, the ocean springs to life, phytoplankton bloom and there is an explosion of krill. This generates a feast amongst seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales. Yet, this region bursting with life has some of the  poorest marine parks protection in the country with only 8% of the region within marine sanctuaries.

Much of the marine life is found nowhere else; 85% of fish, 90% of echinoderms, 95% of molluscs and 65% of seaweeds are unique to this area.  

The south-east marine region is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The waters are heating at a rate three to four times the global average. Rapidly warming waters combined with heavy fishing pressure and oil and gas industry activities, has created a perfect storm of decline. CSIRO climate projections predict a 40% decline in the next 20 years for some of the major targets of commercial fishing.

We know that marine sanctuaries are one of the best tools we have to build resilience into ocean ecosystems.  

Established in 2007, the South-East Marine Park Network falls well short of what is needed to safeguard marine life and their habitats from decline and extinction. 

We must more than double areas protected in marine sanctuaries if we are to protect marine life in the south-east against decline.

We must expand marine sanctuaries over areas of high conservation value. Expert advice suggests there are 9 areas within existing marine parks where we can create new sanctuaries with minimal impact on other users. These areas should be included into marine sanctuaries in the Management Plan update without question

But we shouldn’t stop there. Other areas of particularly high value have been identified as needing upgrades in marine sanctuary protection. The government should work with the community, stakeholders and scientists to ensure adequate representation of these areas are included within marine sanctuaries.

Expanding marine sanctuaries is essential to safeguard ocean ecosystems and marine life, including commercially and recreationally important fish species, through a period of great change.   

Now is our opportunity to protect the outstanding marine life of the south-east marine region and for Australia to demonstrate it is a leader on ocean protection. 

Please accept this as my submission to the notice of intent to develop a new draft management plan for the South-east Marine Parks Network.


The super-abundant and unique marine environment off Australia’s south-eastern coastlines has poor marine park protection, but with the Australian Government reviewing the network of marine parks, we have a rare opportunity to more than double the area fully protected in marine sanctuaries. Add your name and help protect threatened south-east seabirds, dolphins and whales.

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