Updated: June 13, 2012
World's largest marine protection network declared
Australia has declared the world's largest ever network of marine reserves. The plans cover around 2.3 million square kilometres of our oceans which will be protected in reserves that disallow the most damaging forms of fishing and industrial activity – such as bottom trawling (the clear-felling of the sea).
Within these reserves, about 850,000 square kilometres (or 85 million hectares) will be fully protected as marine sanctuaries – the equivalent of national parks. This is the single largest area that any country has protected, on land or sea, at any one moment – ever. The fully protected areas are larger than all of Germany and Spain combined. See the offical map here and click on the region you wish to explore in more detail.
It is also one of the single most significant actions that any government has ever taken to protect nature and we can be proud of the fact that most of the areas that will be protected are ones we have campaigned long and hard to secure. Management plans for the marine reserves will be worked through over the new few months and should be active by July 2014.
For the first time Australia will have marine parks all around our vast island continent, not just on the Great Barrier Reef and a few bits elsewhere.
Having said that, we are not finished yet. We didn’t secure protection for all the areas we needed but as first steps go, this was a giant leap. We will continue to campaign for increased protection for areas like the spectacular Rowley Shoals in WA, and for Limmen Bight (internationally significant for dugongs) in the Gulf of Carpentaria, among others.
This amazing achievement could not have happened without your extraordinary support. As a passionate supporter of wilderness, you can be proud of being part of this historic achievement.
It is also important to acknowledge the wonderful efforts of the many other environment organisations across the country. This was the environment movement at its best, coordinating and combining expertise and efforts, and engaging with Australians from all walks of life over many years. It is a vivid reminder of what can be achieved when so many people have a shared vision of an Australia that is still wild and free.
And if you haven’t yet taken to the water and swum amongst the whale sharks, the corals, the fish or the dolphins in a marine sanctuary, don’t deny yourself one of life's most awesome experiences for much longer. After all, we live on an amazing blue planet and today a big part of it has been protected for you and future generations to come. Thank you!
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For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 9420 7255