We the undersigned call on the Government to take no backwards steps in protecting the ocean. The plans which have been released by the Australian Government will make Australia the only nation in the world to be actively reducing its protections for the ocean.
There is no precedent in history for an area so large to be taken out of conservation.
We call on the Government to retain the level of protection that was enshrined in Australia's Marine Park Network in 2013.
Here are the facts.
- The total area of the Coral Sea Marine Park is: 989 842 square kilometres
- Labor’s network had 50.78% Marine National Park protection (502 645 sq Km)
- The Government’s handpicked expert panel recommended protection for 40.94% (405 258 sq km)
- It’s reported this week that Minister Frydenberg’s new marine reserves has 24% Marine National Park protection.
- Over 50% of the Marine National Park zoning is being stripped away,
- Australia’s largest recreational fishing zone erased in deference to large scale industrial fishing including midwater trawling and tuna longlining. Labor’s network had 18.45% of the Coral sea reserve set aside for recreational fishing. The Coalition has removed that entirely and replaced it with areas where commercial fishing is allowed except bottom trawl. So yes it is true to say recreational fishers can still go there, but so can commercial fishers.
- Unique reefs like Marion Reef and Kenn Reef have been stripped back to only partial protection.
- one of Australia’s longest standing Marine National Park zones – Middleton Reef (part of the Lord Howe Marine Park) has been cut.
- It was declared in 1987 by the Hawke Government and is very important in the network as long-time Marine National Parks zones are rare and valuable.
- Diamantina Fracture Zone – reduced one of Australia’s largest Marine National Parks to the lowest possible zoning where everything is allowed except bottom trawling (this is an area 5-7km deep)
- there is no fishing or mining out there
- Geographe Bay – removed one of the two very modest Marine National Parks
- large Marine National Parks that help sustain the marine life of the Kimberley and Ningaloo have been stripped of much of their protection (Argo Rowley Tce and Gascoyne).
- Large Marine National Park in the Gulf of Carpentaria has had its protections cut – off the Wessel Islands, Karumba and in the Torres Strait – leaving those important areas open to bottom trawling and mining.