Updated: June 14, 2012
Marine reserves network turns tide for our sea life
The Wilderness Society (Inc.)
14 June 2012
- Australian network a welcome first step to protecting sea life
- Major omissions reduce effectiveness of system
- World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef not protected as sanctuary
The Federal Government's announcement of a network of marine reserves around Australia is a welcome first step to ensuring our extraordinary marine life is better protected, the Wilderness Society said today.
“Creating reserves and sanctuaries is vital if we are to protect endangered turtles, dugongs, whales and sealions, and the reefs, canyons, seagrass beds and other habitats for the future,” said Wilderness Society Marine Campaign Manager Felicity Wishart.
“Our oceans are under constant pressure from trawling, overfishing, oil and gas developments and seabed mining. This announcement provides national recognition for the significance of creating marine reserves and sanctuaries as an essential tool for protecting our sea life into the future. Just as we have a network of national parks on land, we now have the beginnings of a similar network in the sea.
“The new reserve network includes large sanctuaries in the Coral Sea, the deep offshore waters of the north-west, the Diamantina Fracture zone in the south west and north of Norfolk Island.
“Unfortunately there are some major omissions that undermine the effectiveness of the overall system. We are disappointed that amazing marine regions such as the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo reef, coral atolls such as the Rowley Shoals, the pristine northern shelf and most of the coral encrusted eastern seamounts have not been protected as marine sanctuaries.
“Other areas that were missed in the network include the Perth Canyon where blue whales come to feed – only a small area has been fully protected; and a number of the reefs in the Coral Sea.
“Thousands of Australians have supported calls a network of large marine sanctuaries around Australia. It is clear that further marine sanctuaries will need to be put in place. The Wilderness Society will continue to campaign for the protection of these iconic areas that have missed out on the highest level of protection and build a truly world class network of marine sanctuaries.
“We acknowledge and support the Federal government policy to fair financial assistance to fishers and businesses directly affected by the creation of marine reserves.”
For further comment:
Marine Campaign Manager, Felicity Wishart: 0408 222 746
Media Adviser, Alex Tibbitts: 0416 420 168
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Inc