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Environment Centre NT - protecting nature, living sustainably, creating climate for a change

Marine Sanctuaries

Flatback Turtle hatchlingThe Territory is lucky to still have one of the healthiest tropical marine environments left on the planet.[1] Much of the Northern Territory coastline belongs to Aboriginal Traditional Owners who have cared for their sea country for millennia. Despite limited enforcement powers, Aboriginal Sea Rangers continue this work today, drawing on traditional culture and conservation science as they patrol and manage our northern coastline.

Our healthy marine environment is a priceless asset of benefit to all. Our coral reefs, home to an abundance of tropical fish, are underwater cafes for sharks. Our sea-grass meadows are nurseries for prawns and feeding grounds for significant populations of globally threatened dugong. Our mangrove lined estuaries are the perfect habitat for threatened sawfish, large mud crabs and our famous barramundi. Our warm inshore waters are playgrounds for the recently described snubfin dolphin. Our sandy beaches provide invaluable nesting sites for rare and endangered sea turtles.

But less than 1% of the Territory’s waters are fully protected in marine sanctuaries.

Increasing pressure on our marine environment from commercial and recreational fishing, the expansion of the oil and gas industry, and a new push for seabed mining are threatening the health and abundance of our remarkable Top End sea life.

The Environment Centre NT in partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society and other community groups are working hard to ensure our marine environment is effectively protected so we can enjoy healthy seas and healthy fishing into the future.

To find out more check out Top End Sea Life webpage by AMCS

[1] Halpern, ‘Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems’, Science, Vol 319, February 2008.