The Australian Greens said today the Abbott Government is taking a double standards approach to marine conservation - on one hand supporting marine conservation internationally but at the same time working to dismantle Australia's world leading marine protection system.
"This week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has joined with other Foreign Ministers to commit to marine protection in the Southern Ocean, yet at the same time, her party is committed to suspending Australia's network of marine protected areas," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"How can Ms Bishop be supporting the evidence based science in Antarctica and then ignoring it when it comes to Australia's marine environment and fish stocks?
"Australia's network of evidence based marine parks play a vital role in protecting environmentally significant areas, and help secure fish stocks so that sustainable fishing industries and communities relying on them can survive long into the future.
"Threats such as climate change and ocean warming mean that strong bioregional marine planning and management help ensure vulnerable marine species are not wiped out.
"I am also concerned by Ms Bishop's potential back-flip when it comes to the monitoring of whaling activities in the Southern Ocean later this year.
"Environment Minister Greg Hunt has been quite clear about sending customs vessels to the region, but Ms Bishop's comments in Japan, as reported today, seem to have tempered this position.
"Over the last two years we have seen serious issues arise during the annual whale hunt, including illegal refuelling of whaling ships, potential fuel spills and aggressive actions that threaten the lives of activists and the whalers themselves.
"Australia needs to take a leadership role in ending whaling and protecting lives. A presence in the region is critical to ensuring the world knows what is happening in Antarctic waters," Senator Siewert concluded.