Help us secure whale, dolphin sanctuaries in Australia

Australia is globally important for whales and dolphins. More than 45 different species are found here, from the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale, to Australia’s only endemic dolphin, the snubfin. It truly is a special place, and we want it to stay that way.

In 2015 the Australian Government suspended its national network of marine parks – the largest network of marine sanctuaries in the world – and began a costly and unnecessary review of the entire system. These waters that our precious whales, dolphins and other marine life depend on – places such as the Coral Sea, Geographic Bay, Lord Howe Island, the Great Australian Bight, the Kimberly and many more – are ALL AT RISK as there is potential for the Government to rollback protection on some very special sanctuary areas.

Sanctuaries provide whales and dolphins with habitat critical to their survival, by offering safe havens where they can feed, breed, rest, migrate and socialise in waters free from human exploitation.

Any reduction in the size or number of these sanctuaries could be very damaging for whale and dolphin conservation. Governments around the world are recognising the clear science that large marine sanctuaries, free from human exploitation, are the best way to protect valuable marine life.

Just this year Ecuador announced the creation of a marine sanctuary around two of the northern Galápagos Islands, while US President Barack Obama declared the largest marine reserve anywhere in the world in Hawaiian waters in August.

Australia taking a backward step on marine conservation and rolling back protections here when the rest of the world is forging ahead would be completely senseless.

The Australian Government is currently seeking public submissions on the development of draft management plans for the future of Australia’s marine sanctuaries. You can have your say about this by making a submission to the review.

Please send your submission to the Australian Government and help secure lasting protection for Australia’s vital network of marine sanctuaries and the whales, dolphins and important marine life they contain.


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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation