We also have a high level of unique species found nowhere else in the world, but right around the country these assets are under threat from oil and gas extraction and trawling.
Marine Proected Areas have now been declared around the country, which formalising the marine bio-regional planning process.
The Greens have long been campaigning to ensure Australia commits to a national network of marine sanctuaries – just as we've got a system of National Parks on land.
This has been a lengthy campaign for the Australian Greens, based on the need to adequately protect our marine environment and resources for our communities and future generations.
"As a West Australian and long term marine campaigner I'm particularly pleased to see the establishment of marine protected areas in the South West bioregion. This is a unique marine area with species found nowhere else on the planet and it is great to see these areas finally protected," Senator Siewert said following the formalisation of the plans.
It is good to see marine protected areas established around our coast, despite the Resources Minister's continued release of new oil and gas exploration leases over environmentally sensitive areas, including known whale calving grounds in South Australia. The only way to prevent this from happening, over and over again, is to make a commitment to exclude destructive industries from our most precious marine areas permanently.
Our fish stocks are under enormous pressure with some fish species in crisis. The Greens recognise the need to act now in order to preserve fish stocks for the future and ensure that important recreational and commercial fishing can continue in a sustainable way.
The scientific evidence show us that marine parks, including some with 'no take' zones, play an essential role in maintaining and rehabilitating fish stocks.
Rather than posing a threat to commercial or recreational fishing, scientifically developed marine parks ensure these industries remain secure and can continue indefinitely alongside our growing tourism industries in a healthy and resilient marine environment.
This is an important start as we begin to deliver marine reserves and sanctuary zones that balance marine protection with sustainable development.