Establishing Australian Marine Parks in the Indian Ocean Territories
The Indian Ocean Territories include some of Australia’s most pristine marine environments. Covering 740,000 square kilometres of waters around Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, this is one of Australia’s most remote and undisturbed marine ecosystems. Plans to establish Australian Marine Parks will secure and protect this unique marine environment and the future of the Indian Ocean Territories.
Australia’s tropical Indian Ocean Territories are famed for their natural beauty, extraordinary wildlife and vibrant cross-cultural communities.
Protecting Australia’s unique marine environment
The waters surrounding Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are important socially and economically to local communities and support incredible biodiversity, including whale sharks, marine turtles, coral reef species and thousands of seabirds.
Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
These marine environments are not currently protected in the Australian Marine Parks network. The independent Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review identified this as a gap in the network and recommended that marine parks be created in these waters. Establishing marine parks now will also help to keep these waters healthy and pristine into the future.
Benefits of Australian Marine Parks
Australian Marine Parks are recognised as one of the best ways to conserve and protect marine habitats and species, while supporting sustainable social and economic use of the marine environment.
Australian Marine Parks can:
- protect environments by helping conserve ecosystems, habitats and species
- increase the resilience of species and habitats to global and systemic environmental pressures, such as climate change
- accommodate important local commercial, recreational, and cultural activities, like fishing
- contribute to local tourism economies
- strengthen protection against international fishing pressures.
Find out more about the process to create Australian Marine Parks at Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
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