Sign our open letter to the new Federal Environment Minister

A healthy ocean for future generations is in reach, but we need action from our Government now. Add your name to the open letter today!

Dear Tanya Plibersek,

Congratulations on a hard-fought campaign and your appointment as the new Federal Environment Minister.

The results from this Federal Election have clearly demonstrated that Australians want decisive, meaningful action on climate change. As our new Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong said during her speech on election night, “Australians have chosen and they have looked to the future…a government that will act on climate change.”

Scientists have long raised the alarm that the actions taken to address climate change this decade will be critical for the future of our blue planet. And given the vital role that the ocean plays in regulating climate – acting as a giant “carbon sink” – the need for action to protect our ocean has never been greater. 

Currently, our ocean is under assault from many human-made threats including;

  • rising temperatures caused by polluting fossil fuel projects

  • plastic pollution

  • illegal fishing

  • threats to endangered and vulnerable species

As a voice for the ocean, Sea Shepherd welcomes your proposed policies to protect our marine ecosystem, in particular;

  • establishing an independent environmental protection agency to enforce national conservation laws and collect data on the plight of the country’s wildlife

  • considering a framework that addresses the importation of fish from fisheries that involve illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices; and

  • playing an active leadership role in supporting negotiations towards both an international agreement on the High Seas and on Marine Litter and Microplastics.

However, more action is needed to protect our marine environment. While the issues facing our ocean are vast and varied, Sea Shepherd Australia is calling for a public commitment to the following 10 actions;

  1. More ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 2030. 

  2. A rapid and just transition away from polluting fossil fuels. 

  3. An end to shark culling in Australian waters.

  4. Permanent protection for the Great Australia Bight. 

  5. More action on plastic pollution. 

  6. Effective protection of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

  7. Expansion of Australia’s ‘No-Take’ Marine Park Zones. 

  8. More action and robust recovery plans for species that are threatened & endangered. 

  9. Ongoing consultation with First Nations people for the management of Australia’s marine and coastal areas. 

  10.  A precautionary approach when planning, constructing, operating and decommissioning offshore wind farms. 

A more detailed outline of these actions is available at:

Ms Plibersek, Australian voters have made the call for urgent action to protect our blue planet. Now it's time for the new parliament to knuckle down, take action for the plight of our ocean and make the country into the “renewable superpower” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has vowed. 

With action, there is hope for our ocean. 

In the recent BBC series, A Perfect Planet, Sir David Attenborough says: “The oceans are being damaged in another way, with research suggesting that overfishing has  removed as much as 90% of all large predatory fish and fewer fish means a marine system that stores less carbon.” Narrating Sea Shepherd’s patrols to combat illegal fishing in Gabon, West Africa, Sir David goes on to say: “When areas of ocean are protected, marine life can recover. Marine life here now has a chance.” 

With your appointment, I believe we have a chance. All that remains is for us to seize it. For if we lose the battle to save our ocean, our primary life support, we all lose!

 Congratulations again on your appointment as the new Federal Environment Minister of Australia, Ms Plibersek. This is a truly critical role, and to see the Albanese government select someone of your experience and calibre shows that this role is being given the utmost importance.Our team is excited to stand with you as together, we lead with action for our ocean, our planet and a real future for future generations. 

After all, given nature, our ocean and our forests are humanity's life support. They truly are priceless and should be protected as if our lives depend on it because in reality,  they do.

With appreciation and respect, 

Jeff Hansen and the team at Sea Shepherd.