Indian Ocean Territories Marine Parks
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Covering 744,070 square kilometres of remote deep water ocean and inshore reef and lagoon habitats, Christmas Island Marine Park and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park are the two newest marine parks in the national network of Australian Marine Parks.
Established in March 2022, these marine parks help protect the unique marine environments of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) and support positive social and economic outcomes for local communities and other marine users.
The marine environment of the IOT is known for iconic species such as whale sharks, turtles, manta rays, spinner dolphins and a vast array of seabirds. There are also lesser known but equally fascinating species, including locally evolved hybrid fish which result from the mixing of waters from the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the IOT.
Locals and visitors can experience the magnificent marine world of the IOT by themselves or with a local tour operator to head out scuba diving, snorkelling, kite surfing, kayaking, free diving or fishing.
For further information about the two new IOT marine parks please refer to the:
- Christmas Island Marine Park Description and Values Statement
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park Description and Values Statement
A first round of public consultation seeking feedback on what should be included in the management plans was held from 6 July to 17 August 2023. Parks Australia will consider the submissions received in preparing draft management plans for the marine parks.
When draft management plans have been prepared, they will be released for a second round of public consultation.
Christmas Island Marine Park and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park were declared in March 2022, following a co-design process with local communities and broad stakeholder consultation. Locally based advisory committees have been established to continue the co-design approach during the preparation of the management plans. The terms of reference for these committees are available at:
- Christmas Island Marine Park Management Plan Committee Terms of Reference
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park Management Plan Committee Terms of Reference.
Indian Ocean Territories marine park grants program
To coincide with the establishment of the new Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) marine parks in the waters around Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an Indian Ocean Territories Marine Park grant program was released in March 2022 to contribute to the protection of these unique environments.
Seventeen grants worth over $3 million were approved by the Minister for the Environment and Water and most projects have commenced. Find out more about our successful grant projects here.
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