So, what’s next? The Australian Government now has to create a management plan for the new marine park. This will involve further consultation with scientists, community members and marine management experts, and once finalised it will need to be accepted by both houses of the Australian Parliament.
It’s been clear, throughout the campaign to save Macca’s seas and particularly in the leadup to Minister Plibersek’s announcement, that our local communities care deeply about the protection of this far-flung wonderland, even though most of us may never make the three-day voyage across those wild sub-Antarctic seas to visit it. Throughout the consultation process over the marine park expansion, over 14,700 submissions were received by the Minister, with an overwhelming 99 per cent in full support of the proposal.
Tim Jarvis is clear on what needs to happen next. “As a community, we need to make sure the management plan is properly resourced and set up to deliver on the vision. There's no reason to suggest it won't, but we still need everybody, when the time is right, to let the government know we're all watching. We’re all excited about this, but we expect this plan to be right for the job of administering this marine sanctuary properly.”
The science is also crystal clear. A healthy, thriving ocean requires a comprehensive network of marine protected areas. Protecting our special saltwater places means caring for the remarkable array of creatures and marine life, big and small, that live on, in and above the ocean. Marine protected areas are essential for growing healthy fisheries. Fully protecting the right areas means a healthy ocean, and a whole lot more fish.
“In terms of the big picture, we still need at least 30 per cent of the ocean fully protected,” says Tim Jarvis. “This is a great start. But right now, Minister Plibersek and the Australian Government have a unique opportunity to make a real legacy statement, to be remembered for having done something truly amazing. So, in that sense, this is only the beginning.”
Join the thousands of Australians who have already helped triple the size of the marine park around Macquarie Island. We now need your help to lock in this protection with the best possible management plan — and to strengthen protection for the waters off Heard and McDonald Islands. Join the campaign here.