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HSI's Campaign for Marine Sanctuaries      


Protect our Oceans - HSI's campaign for marine sanctuaries

Augu​st 2014

After years in preparation, in 2012 the Australian Government created the world’s largest network of marine parks and sanctuaries around our coast. Despite management plans being finalised in 2013, and due to come into effect in July 2014, the current Government has set aside these management plans whilst a review gets underway. Details of this review are expected later in 2014.

These 'national parks of the seas' will protect our marine life, help replenish fish stocks and ensure the special link we have with our oceans is secure. HSI is working to save these sanctuaries so that our marine life can be better protected.

The 2012 network would have been the largest network of marine protected areas in the world. It proposed increasing the number of marine reserves around Australia will increase from 27 to 60, expanding the national network to cover more than a third of Commonwealth waters (3.1 million square kilometres). While most of this area will be marine park (parts of which will still allow forms of commercial and recreational fishing), around nine per cent of Australia' s territorial waters will now be properly protected to national park standard through the creation of marine sanctuaries. This is an area of ocean greater than the size of New South Wales.

Zoning proposed in 2013 was overall a very significant step forward for marine conservation in Australia and globally, however there were some important areas that have not yet received the right level of protection. The marine reserve review getting underway in 2014 will be again looking at this zoning and how reserves will be managed.

Around the globe, fisheries are collapsing and biodiversity is in steep decline. Locally fisheries are on the verge of collapse, hundreds of seals, sea lions, seabirds and dolphins continue to be killed every year in trawl nets, and pollution and climate change are having an insidious and silent impact.

HSI will continue to campaign for protection of critical marine habitats for our marine life.

For more information and for a map of the proposed network click here  

Protecting Critical Marine Habitats


Australia has one of the largest marine territories in the world. A huge variety of fish, sharks, whales and seals live in our continent' s spectacular submerged mountain ranges, deep sea canyons and both cool and tropical coral reefs. Such extraordinary underwater features provide critical habitat for traveling endangered turtles, threatened Australian sea lions, bizarre leafy sea dragons, ancient old growth coral gardens and over half of the world' s species of whales and dolphins, including the magnificent blue whale.

Many critical habitat areas for our marine species where our threatened marine species feed and breed, are not currently provided with the protection they need. HSI is therefore working on a number of fronts to ensure that critical habitats are a key consideration in the development of a network of marine sanctuaries around Australia.

To read HSI's report Protecting Critical Marine Habitats  download PDF (2525 kB)


HSI's activities nationwide


We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect our marine life. HSI is working at a national level, engaging actively in each of the regions, calling for the inclusion of critical habitat areas within proposed sanctuaries. Each of these regions has a specific campaign to ensure the biodiversity values are given sufficient attention in each region.

General Marine Campaign Information


HSI Welcomes the world's largest network of Marine reserves 

16th November 2012 click here.

HSI welcomes marine reserve network

June 14, 2012 click here

Stop playing politics with marine parks say conservation groups

June 2, 2011 download PDF(634.9 kB)


South West 

The globally significant waters of south west Australia is a unique part of Australia under threat. Up to 90% of the marine life in the South West alone is found nowhere else on Earth. With less than 1% of the region protected, HSI is collaborating with 19 other Australian and international conservation organisations working to protect and secure Australia' s unique marine life in this region through Save Our Marine Life. As part of this coalition we are calling for the creation of large marine sanctuaries off the coast of south west Australia. To find out more about Save Our Marine Life see:




The newly released report Atlantis Found: Underwater Icons of Australia' s Unique South West (download PDF 6965 kB) seeks to uncover 10 of these spectacular hot spots for unique marine life off the South West coast.


Latest News


New report finds Marine sanctuaries an important economic investment

September 12, 2011 download pdf (300.9  kB

Developing Australia's national system of marine reserves: A statement of concern about the proposal for Australia's south west Marine Region

August 8, 2011 download pdf (1230.8 kB)

HSI submission for marine sanctuary network in Australia's south west

August 8, 2011 download pdf (1230.8 kB)

Record public support registered for South Western marine sanctuaries

August 8, 2011 download pdf (295.5 kB)

Promise to protect marine life at risk as oil drilling threatens south west oceans

July 15, 2011 download pdf (276 kB))

Proposed Southwest marine parks plan falls short

May 5, 2011 download pdf ( 334.4 kB)

New Alliance calls for Marine Sanctuaries for Dolphins, Marine Life and Tourists

April 19, 2011 download PDF (201.6 kB)

First Science-Based Blueprint to Protect Southwest Oceans Released

November 11, 2010 download PDF (184 kB)

Protect our Marine Life - Take Action to help convince Minister Burke to protect our unique marine life

Take action



North and North-West


HSI is working with national and regional environment groups to ensure Northern Australia's tropical sea life is protected in an extensive network of marine sanctuaries.  HSI is part of Save Our Tropical Sealife, an alliance of conservation groups working to ensure the topical sea life of Australia's north and northwest is fully protected in a world class network of large marine sanctuaries from Kalbarri WA to  the tip of Cape York QLD.  To find out more visit www.saveourtropicalsealife.org.au

Latest News


HSI Submission on Northwest Commonwealth Marine Reserves network proposal

December 2, 2011 download PDF (441.2 kB)

HSI Submission on North Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network Proposal

December 2, 2011 download PDF (426.9 kB)

Action Alert - Save our Tropical Sea Life

November 4, 2011 click here

Australia's North and Northwest teeming with rare and threatened marine life - new reports

November 4, 2011 download PDF (119.5 kb)

Wild Blue Yonder: Fifteen underwater places for protection in Australia's spectacular northwest

November 4, 2011 click here for report

Twelve Tropical Sea Treasures: Underwater icons of Northern Australia

November 4, 2011 click here for report

Rare Marine Life abandoned by Federal Government Marine Park Plan

August 23 2011 download PDF (145 kb)

New Alliance Pressures feds to protect tropical sea life

June 29 2011 download PDF (892.4 kB)


Coral Sea

Lying adjacent and seaward of the great Barrier Reef, in a remote oceanic environment, the Coral Sea is separated from the Great Barrier Reef by an area of deep water known as the Queensland Trough, protected from effects of coastal influences such as urban run-off and pollution.  Due to this location, it has largely avoided the destructive fate of other coral reefs worldwide, including the closely related Great Barrier Reef. 

HSI has joined 14 other organizations as part of the campaign to Protect our Coral Sea.  Our goal is the establishment of a large world-class, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea that will provide a safe haven for marine life and recognize its historic significance.  For more information about the campaign see:


Latest News


HSI submission on Coral Sea commonwealth Marine Reserves Network Proposal

February 12, 2012 download PDF (184.5 kB)

Underwater legend Valerie Taylor urges protection of the Coral Sea - While we still have time

January 13, 2012  download PDF (243.2 kB)

Protect the Coral Sea - Narrated by Valerie Taylor

January 2012   Watch Video

Coral Sea - unprotected public reefs

December 2, 2011 download File

ACTION ALERT - Act now to help protect our Coral Sea

November 3 2011 click here

Queenslanders support visionary protection for our Coral Sea

November 3, 2011 download PDF (189.7 kB)

Australia's Coral Sea: A predator hot spot - First comprehensive scientific study of area's spectacular marine life released

August 20, 2012  click here

FACTSHEET:  Australia's Coral Sea: A Biophysical Profile (PDF)

REPORT: Australia's Coral Sea: A Biophysical Profile (PDF) by marine ecologist Dr. Daniela Ceccarelli

Australia's Coral Sea:  Home to over 300 threatened species

October 20 2010 download PDF (61.2 kB)



HSI is actively working with other conservation organizations to ensure that the marine life of the East coast, south of the Coral Sea, is similarly protected, and the critical habitat areas are included within proposed marine sanctuaries.

Latest News

HSI Submission on temperate east commonwealth marine reserves network proposals

February 22, 2012 download PDF (315 kB)

Missed opportunity on Marine Protection

November 11, 2011 download PDF (113.8 kB)


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