The oceans off Australia’s South West region host some of the most spectacular and unique marine life in the world. Nearly nine out of ten marine species in these waters exist nowhere else on the planet. Thousands of species of fish, seabirds, sharks, dolphins and turtles live, breed and feed in the South West’s waters. The endangered blue whale feeds in this area. Incredible underwater features can also be found in the waters of the South West, such as one of Australia's tallest underwater mountain ranges, and deep sea canyons, including one larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States. Take a virtual tour of Australia’s South West marine region.
The South West’s marine life rivals the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef. Despite this, very little of the South West's waters are protected from the impacts of overfishing and ocean pollution, including oil spills. In fact, less than one percent of the 1.3 million square kilometer (501, 933 square mile) region is currently under protection.
Through the 11-member Save Our Marine Life alliance, we aim to establish a network of large marine sanctuaries in Australia’s South West waters. The Save Our Marine Life alliance is an unprecedented collaboration of Australian and international organizations working to protect and secure the South West region’s unique marine life.
The Australian government is currently assessing the oceans of the South West for new areas of protection. The government reached an important milestone in 2009 when it identified more than half of the 1.4 million square kilometer (540,543 square mile) South West marine region for consideration as potential marine sanctuaries. A decision is expected in 2011.