Macquarie Island Marine Park poised to triple in size

The Albanese Labor Government has today announced plans to triple the size of the Macquarie Island Marine Park to protect the entire Exclusive Economic Zone around the island – an area more than twice the size of Victoria.

This proposed expansion would bring our marine parks to 48.2 per cent of Australian oceans.

The new park would also achieve a globally significant contribution to marine conservation, increasing the area of Australia’s waters under high protection by over 388,000 square kilometres, an increase larger than the area of Germany.

Macquarie Island’s sub-Antarctic marine environment is a critical feeding ground for millions of seabirds and thousands of seals and penguins that breed on the island.

Among the species calling Macquarie Island and the surrounding marine park waters home are royal penguins, southern rockhopper penguins, subantarctic fur seals, southern elephant seals, black-browed albatrosses and grey petrels. 

The proposed design would also support the continuation of the small and sustainable Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery.

The Macquarie Island Marine Park is one of 14 marine parks managed by Parks Australia under the South-east Marine Parks Network Management Plan 2013-2023.

Statutory consultation on the proposal to expand the Macquarie Island Marine Park will commence in the coming weeks and will run in parallel with public consultation on the intention to prepare a new management plan for the South-east Network.

The expiry of the 10-year management plan for the South-east Network is an opportunity to review protections and management arrangements, ahead of the next plan.

The Government is committed to undertaking the statutory reviews of marine parks in a consultative way, with any changes to marine park management based on science and stakeholder input.

Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek:

“I’m committed to conserving our oceans for our kids and grandkids.

“The Government’s proposed expansion of Macquarie Island Marine Park would see the marine park triple in size.

“The proposal includes a new high protection zone larger than the area of Germany, an important contribution to our commitment to protect 30 per cent of our land and 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030.

“Macquarie Island Marine Park is a remote wildlife wonderland – a critical habitat for millions of seabirds, seals and penguins.

“I encourage everyone who, like me, cares deeply about the future of our oceans and of the industries and activities that rely on their health, to provide your input on the proposal to expand the Macquarie Island Marine Park and on the future of the South-east marine park network.

“Expanding and increasing the protection of the waters surrounding Macquarie Island will allow us to better manage this important ecosystem for the future.”