Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are Australia’s most remote territory, lying 4,000 km from Western Australia and just 1,700 km from Antarctica. Lashed by gale-force winds and the wild Southern Ocean, these volcanic Sub-Antarctic islands are a haven for an abundance of marine life – whales, seals, penguins and seabirds – some of it found nowhere else on the planet.

This independent scientific report investigates the rich and remarkable marine ecosystem of Australia’s World Heritage-listed Heard and McDonald Islands in the Southern Ocean and the measures needed to protect them in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

This report recommends increasing the fully protected marine sanctuary areas around HIMI from 17 percent of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), to 38 percent. It also recommends including 43 percent of the EEZ in a zone that allows certain types of fishing, while also providing some protection for foraging marine mammals and birds. 

Image credit | Mawson’s Peak Heard Island, Inger Vandyke

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