Indian Ocean Territories Marine Parks
Click on the map below to navigate the Indian Ocean Territories Marine Parks.
Covering 744,070 square kilometres of remote tropical ocean, reef and lagoon habitat, Christmas Island Marine Park and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park are the two newest additions to the national network of Australian Marine Parks.
Established in March 2022, these new marine parks will 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.
These new marine park protections will build on the work of Christmas Island National Park and Pulu Keeling National Park, which have helped to protect the unique island environments of the IOT for decades.
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
Indian Ocean Territory 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.
Successful grants have now been decided by the Minister for the Environment and Water, with 17 marine projects worth over $3 million being offered for funding by the Australian Government, which is $815,000 more than the $2.2 million of funding originally allocated. These projects include:
- Assessing local human-shark interactions to minimise negative impacts
- Restoring seagrass habitats to provide an ecosystem nursery for fish and other species
- Surveying resident foraging sea turtles, their habitats, diet and movements, with a focus on green turtles
- Supporting the Christmas Island community to protect the iconic red crabs during their annual breeding migration
- Researching and monitoring coral reef health and diversity, including comparing them with the diversity of reef species from other locations
- Monitoring and removing marine debris to help conserve the values of the marine parks.
These newly funded projects are expected to commence in 2023 and finish by mid-2025. Grant offers have been made to the following organisations/individuals:
|Grant Recipient||Project Title|
|Board of the Queensland Museum||Diversity and conservation of corals in the Australian Indian Ocean Territory|
|Christmas Island Stories Incorporated||Survival, Lifestyle, Culture and Sustainability. The enduring relationship of the Christmas Island Community with the Marine Environment|
|EOMAP Australia PTY LTD||Satellite Mapping of Bathymetry and Habitats of Cocos (Keeling) Island and Christmas Island Marine Parks|
|Island Care Incorporated||Safeguarding the Christmas Island Red Crab. Safeguarding our future.|
|James Cook University||Coral reef monitoring, research and community engagement in the Indian Ocean Territories Marine Parks|
|Joanna Buckee||Cocos Seaweed Research|
|Scott David Whiting||The status of resident and nesting sea turtles at Cocos Keeling Islands, including in the context of recent habitat changes.|
|Sea Country Solutions PTY LTD||Operation Lumut (seagrass) Rescue - taking action to restore and monitor seagrass in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park|
|Sea Country Solutions PTY LTD||Mapping marine habitats and human use in the IOT Marine Parks|
|Shire of Christmas Island||Christmas Island Marine Park Lily Beach Gateway Upgrades|
|Su. Zhong Xiong||Marine Park Mural|
|Tangaroa Blue Foundation Ltd||Tangaroa Blue Foundation, in partnership with Australian Marine Parks, will deliver a targeted and integrated program to reduce and record data on the marine debris loads impacting the Indian Ocean Territories.|
|University of Adelaide||Importance of the South Cocos Island seagrasses in sustaining the island's inshore recreational and commercial fisheries|
|University of Queensland||Strengthening sustainability of the Indian Ocean Territories Marine Parks and local economy, through collaborative world-class ecotourism|
|University of Western Australia||Promoting safe and sustainable interactions between humans and sharks at Cocos (Keeling) Islands|
|University of Western Australia||Community-driven Monitoring of the open-ocean wildlife of the Cocos (Keeling) Marine Park|
|University of Western Australia||A first benchmarking of the open-ocean wildlife monitoring at Christmas Island|
Transitional management arrangements are in place for IOT marine parks until management plans for these new marine parks are prepared.
The preparation of management plans will be informed by at least two rounds of open consultation where any interested member of the community can make a written submission.
Local advisory committees are also being established to help inform the preparation of marine park management plans. The terms of reference for these committees are available here:
- Christmas Island Marine Park Management Plan Committee Terms of Reference
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands Marine Park Management Plan Committee Terms of Reference
If you would like to be kept up to date on developments and opportunities to input, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Establishing IOT marine parks
To find out about how the Indian Ocean Territories marine parks were established, visit Science and Consultation.
Indian Ocean Territories marine parks
Stay in touch
Subscribe to receive important updates about your marine parks. Enter your email address and click "join now".