New Australian marine parks, progress, but not enough

This video is about the Coral Sea.

By Mel Barnes in Australia:

New marine parks are still fossil fuel playgrounds

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The federal government announced on June 14 that it would create the “world’s largest network of marine reserves” in Australia. It will form 33 new marine reserves, adding to the current 27.

Conservation groups have long campaigned for more marine parks that place strict limits on what can take place in significant marine habitats. Responding to the plan, The Wilderness Society said: “It is also one of the single most significant actions that any government has ever taken to protect nature … 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.”

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said: “Some critically important areas like the Coral Sea — the “Serengeti of the Seas” — will be safeguarded from damaging activities like bottom trawling, oil and gas exploration and seabed mining. The near-pristine wilderness of our tropical Coral Sea is one of the last remaining places on Earth where populations of large ocean fish and healthy coral reefs still thrive.”

But although they welcomed the new reserves, both groups said the move does not go far enough. The Wilderness Society said: “We will continue to campaign for increased protection for areas like the spectacular Rowley Shoals in Western Australia, and for Limmen Bight (internationally significant for dugongs) in the Gulf of Carpentaria, among others.”

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said: “Oil and gas exploration remain a major threat to precious marine areas like Ningaloo and the Rowley Shoals off the Western Australian coast.”

Marine reserves play an incredibly important role in protecting our oceans, helping deal with threats such as climate change, overfishing and pollution, which put fish stocks, reefs and marine habitats in danger.

A quarter of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed and two thirds are in serious trouble. Eighty five percent of global fish stocks are overfished, recovering from past overfishing or fished to their limit.

Much like national parks on land, marine parks protect biodiversity, allow species to survive and adapt to changes in the environment. They are needed to protect rare and threatened species and safeguard breeding grounds that replenish fish stocks.

Sustaining the Coral Triangle’s Marine Biodiversity and its People: “Building Sustainable Blue Economies”: here.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told scientists in Australia today that rising acid levels have emerged as the biggest threats to coral reefs, acting as the “osteoporosis of the sea”: here.

New Zealand: The Government will allow mining exploration in marine mammal sanctuaries that protect rare dolphins, whales and seals: here.

5 thoughts on “New Australian marine parks, progress, but not enough

  1. Pingback: Save Australian Great Barrier Reef from polluters | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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