The Commonwealth waters that lie offshore in the Ningaloo-Pilbara, Kimberley, Top End, and Gulf regions harbour iconic underwater treasures of global significance and provide a home to much-loved species including snubfin dolphins, dugong, whales and sea turtles.
These regions support one of the last intact, large tropical marine ecosystems on the planet. A global analysis of human impacts on the marine environment rated Northern Australia as one of the only relatively pristine coastal areas left on Earth.
While Traditional Owners of this coast have an intimate knowledge of their sea country developed over countless generations, scientists are only now beginning to understand the staggering breadth of wildlife that lives here.
Until recently, the remoteness of these waters protected tropical sealife from threats felt elsewhere, but increasing pressure from fishing, and the massive expansion of the oil and gas industry are threatening the long-term future of these underwater icons.
Large marine sanctuaries
With increasing human pressure on the world’s tropical marine environments, Australia has a global responsibility to protect these tropical sea treasures.
Effectively protected, our Ningaloo-Pilbara, Kimberley, Top End and Gulf waters will be a global haven that helps safeguard the world’s endangered sea turtles, vulnerable dugong, rare dolphins, migratory whales, and fragile coral reefs
In 2012, Australia made history by creating the world’s largest network of marine sanctuaries – protecting our incredible marine life, safeguarding our enviable coastal lifestyle, and giving fish populations across Australia the chance to rebuild and thrive.
More than 100,000 of us helped to create this legacy for our children and the future health of our oceans.
But now after ten years of overwhelming science, these marine sanctuaries are at risk. See what you can do.
 Halpern et al. (2008) A Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems. Science 15 February 2008: Vol. 319 no. 5865 pp. 948-952