Australia plans to create two ‘mega’ marine parks

The Australian Government has announced plans to establish two new ‘mega’ marine parks around Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. These will be the world’s next big marine parks of global significance, providing crucial protection to globally significant marine life in an area twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – over 740,000 square kilometres.

If you’ve ever dived Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Islands you’ll understand what fantastic news this is, providing significant protection for one of Australia’s most incredible diving destinations, both with abundant, diverse marine life, pristine fringing reefs and some of the best viz you’ll ever encounter.

The islands are both uniquely Australian and globally significant – there really is nowhere like them on Earth. Located at the intersection between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, they are also global hotspots for species mixing– effectively evolution-in-action, one of the reasons Christmas Island has been dubbed “Australia’s Galapagos”.

Healthy populations of ocean giants such as oceanic sharks, billfish and tunas abound in these waters, which also provide part of the only known breeding grounds for critically endangered southern bluefin tuna. Most famous for its annual red crab migration, Christmas Island is one of David Attenborough’s 10 natural wonders of the world. Its thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and fringing reef provide a haven for unique and rare seabirds, land crabs and marine life.

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an unspoiled tropical island paradise, sit at the top of an ancient sea mountain encircling a beautiful tropical lagoon, their azure waters are home to diverse marine life including tropical fish, corals, turtles, manta rays and dolphins.

How you can help establish the world’s next mega marine parks

A formal public consultation process will begin for two new marine parks with $5.4 million set aside in the recently announced Federal Budget for economic support. You can show your support for these marine parks here, by calling on the Minister to work with the island communities to co-design the marine parks and make sure our marine life gets the protection they deserve.

If you’d like to find out more about diving Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Islands – contact us to find out more.

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