3 June 2024

USE YOUR VOICE TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA'S SOUTHWEST

In 2019, the Western Australian Government made a commitment to establish 5 million hectares of new national parks, marine parks and nature reserves. Now, they want to know what you want for the future of Australia’s iconic southwest coast, from Bremer Way to the border of South Australia, a region home to 80% of Western Australia's Endangered Australian sea lions and important corridors for the migration of southern right whales. 

This is your opportunity to use your voice to protect the future of Australia’s unique wildlife and iconic coastlines. Anyone in Australia can send a submission, and there are two ways to get involved: by filling out an online survey or by sending an email.  The simplest way to have your say is via email, but if you’ve got lots to share or would like to learn more, you can check out the full survey here.

Not sure what to say? Take some inspiration from WWF-Australia's asks below. 

What we’re asking for: 

  • Protect and connect whale superhighways through a network of sanctuary zones to ensure safe passage for southern right whales and other marine animals.  
  • Provide sanctuary protection for Australian sea lions, including around all important breeding and haul out sites.  
  • Prohibit ground- disturbing mining and petroleum exploration and development within the boundaries of the marine park plans.  
  • Where possible, shoreline protection should be extended. No sanctuary boundaries should be pushed back from the shoreline.  
  • Improved sanctuary protection in the Recherche Archipelago, home to over 500 species of sea grasses, soft corals, sponges and algae, and an important breeding ground for Australian sea lions, nesting sea birds and many other unique and genetically distinct species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world!  
Australian sea lion underwater.
Australian sea lion underwater. © Shutterstock / Rich Carey / WWF

Why is the proposed South Coast Marine Park so important?

Joint Management and Cultural Significance 

The south coast and its adjacent waters hold significant value for the Traditional Owners of the southwest region. The four connecting parks will be managed by the respective Traditional Owners in collaboration with the WA Government to enable cultural and conservation outcomes that benefit the whole community.  

Threatened Species 

The south coast of Western Australia is home to many threatened species, including the threatened southern right whale and Australian sea lion (the only pinniped endemic to Australia!). These species were nearly hunted to extinction and have been slow to recover since becoming protected. It’s not enough to simply ‘not hunt’ them anymore, we need to protect them on their home turf – and this marine park has the power to do just that. 

Climate 

Many marine ecosystems provide incredible means of carbon storage, ranging from fast-growing kelp species to incredible great whales, which store carbon in their bodies. This carbon is captured and carried to the bottom of the ocean at the end of their lives. 

The ocean absorbs around 90% of the heat generated by climate change and 30% of human carbon emissions. We cannot combat climate change without a healthy ocean. If we hope to secure a healthy future for people and nature, we must protect our oceans and the incredible species that call them home.  

Ecotourism 

The proposed South Coast Marine Park is a big part of the Great Southern Reef, one of Australia’s richest ecological assets. The region is even more biodiverse than the Great Barrier Reef! Our iconic landscapes and species make Australia an appealing destination for locals and visitors alike! Protecting the Great Southern Reef will provide significant economic opportunities for local communities and businesses as visitors travel to see what can’t be found anywhere else.