In a new short film Sanctuary, celebrities, Indigenous leaders, scientists, and locals come together to have their voices heard on the erosion of protections for marine sanctuaries on the NSW South Coast. 


In 2019, the NSW Government scrapped six sanctuary zones within the Batemans Marine Park, allowing recreational fishing to take place in areas like Brou Lake, Montague Island and Clarks Bay. 

This was done without proper community consultation, leaving many locals feeling as though their opinions on the matter were ignored. 

Sanctuary is the community’s opportunity to have their concerns heard and reveal how these changes are already affecting the South Coast. But it’s not just locals who are speaking up. 

The film includes celebrities the likes of ABC broadcaster and host of River Cottage Australia, Paul West, environmental activist, model, and science communicator, Laura Wells, as well as Walbunja man and Native Title Claimant, Wally Stewart, and Professor of Marine Ecology, David Booth. 

‘My community is not happy with the removal of sanctuary protections’, says Traditional Owner Wally Stewart.

‘As Native Title claimants over these waters, the Government has a responsibility to consult, but they made this decision without telling us and without any recognition of the status of our Native Title claim.’

Sanctuary is destined to be as beautiful as it is important, features underwater montages shot in the Batemans Marine Park by National Geographic award winning photographer, Aristo Risi. 

‘The South Coast marine environment is just stunning, so I wanted to let the imagery speak for itself. The locals care about it so much, so we’ve just let them tell the story in their own words. It’s heartfelt, informative, and beautiful,’ Aristo said. 

Watch Sanctuary now on the Save Batemans Sanctuaries Facebook page.


Feature photo thanks to Destination NSW