Our coasts and sea life

Stretching from the WA/NT  border in the west, into the Gulf of Carpentaria and across to Queensland in the east, the Northern Territory waters are some of the last healthy tropical waters in the world.

Our Top End coasts are wild, diverse and unique - home to six of the world’s seven sea turtles, migrating whales, the recently-identified snubfin dolphin, the vulnerable dugong and iconic sawfish.

Connecting us to our tropical waters are some of the least disturbed mangrove forests on Earth. More than a third of Australia’s mangroves can be found along our coastlines, rivers and estuaries. They protect our coastline from erosion, storms and cyclones. They filter our waters, and they provide vital nurseries for our fish stocks, including a Top End favourite, the barramundi. Studies have demonstrated that fish abundance is 25 times greater on reefs close to mangrove forests than reefs where mangroves have been destroyed.

Extensive seagrass beds stretch along our shallow coastline and into the Gulf country. These meadows act as filters and stabilise our coasts, while supporting abundant sea life, from grazing sea turtles and dugongs to commercially important prawns.

Vast sandy beaches meet clear tropical waters, teeming with corals. Our coral reefs in Darwin Harbour, the Cobourg Peninsula and along the Arnhem coastline are full of  popular reef fish such as snapper and grouper. Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, including our own northern anemone clown fish.

Take Action

The Top End’s fishing is amazing, but places such as Darwin Harbour are not as good as they used to be. Pollution is damaging our beaches and coasts. Mangroves are being destroyed. Industrialisation is on the agenda.
 
Ask Territory leaders to help protect our Top End way of life and secure the health of our coasts for the future.

Dear Territory leaders,

The Territory’s unique way of life depends on the health of the great outdoors. There are, however, threats to our coasts that your action now will help to prevent permanently damaging our treasured lifestyle.

A plan to safeguard the Top End’s coasts is needed now. There are proven solutions on offer, including national parks in the sea, Indigenous Sea Country protected areas, and protecting our coasts to support our fishing lifestyle.

Yours Sincerely,

[your name and suburb will be inserted here]