Australian Marine Parks

The Indian Ocean Territories include some of Australia’s most pristine marine environments. Covering more than 740,000 square kilometres of waters around Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, these are two of Australia’s most remote and undisturbed marine regions. Establishing Australian Marine Parks will help protect these unique marine environments and support positive social and economic outcomes for local communities and other marine users.

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 highlighted this 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 help 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
  • support 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.

Process to create Australian Marine Parks in the Indian Ocean Territories