Fenelon Island in the Great Australian Bight in 2016.
Marine Parks & the Great Australian Bight
There are 19 marine parks and 83 sanctuary zones in the Great Australian Bight.
The M/Y Steve Irwin will conduct a critical two-week ecological marine survey off some of these remote offshore island marine park sanctuary zones in an effort to further highlight the critical importance these protected areas have on the Great Australian Bight.
Four research dives a day per location conducting underwater surveys and gather the vital evidence they need to continue to protect the Bight. The M/Y Steve Irwin and an international crew will depart Port Adelaide on Monday, March 19 and will return on Wednesday, March 28.
We will visit the protected islands of Off Top Gallant, Ward, Flinders and Pearson, which are all part of the Investigator Wilderness Protection Area. These islands form part of a reef just off the Eyre Peninsula.
This wilderness protection area was established in 2011 in order to guard the endangered Australian sea lion, New Zealand fur seal, the White-faces storm petrel, Cape Barren geese, mutton birds, and the Pearson Island black-footed wallaby.
A five-year report released in January 2017 showed that the state’s marine park network is on track with its program of protecting and conserving the Bight’s significant biodiversity of marine life.
Highlights of the report include:
- 205 species of fish have been discovered in SA’s marine parks
- SA’s marine parks and sanctuary zones are protecting vulnerable species such as the blue groper, blue devils, harlequin fish, and the weedy sea dragon
Despite strong public support for marine parks (91 per cent of Australians supported marine parks in 2017), the Federal Government plans to dramatically reduce protection of Australia's oceans by allowing commercial fishing in 80% of the total area of Australia’s marine parks.
We need to gather the critical evidence to show just how important marine parks are, not only for the Great Australian Bight, but for all marine parks around Australia.