Today’s announcement has fallen well short of the comprehensive network of marine sanctuaries promised for Australia’s South West marine region by Federal Environment Minister Burke, according to Greens marine spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert.
“Some key areas are missing from the plan,” Senator Siewert said today.
“Our South West marine region includes some of the greatest marine diversity on the planet and provides a habitat for many rare and endangered species. It provides a home to more unique marine life than the Great Barrier Reef.
“We welcome today’s announcement as an important first step, but more is needed to deliver an effective network of marine sanctuaries.
“Some vital areas are missing from the plan, which seriously undermines the rationale of the South West Marine Park plan. Unless we take an evidence-based approach to marine protection and ensure that a sufficient range of critical habitats is protected, we will not have the sanctuary areas needed to rebuild fish stock and ensure its long-term sustainability.
“The gaps in the plan include some of the most vital areas – including Perth Canyon, Geographe Bay, The Capes area, the Albany canyons, the Abrolhos Islands and Recherche Archipelago.
“These are areas that West Australians have a strong connection to and want to see better protected.
“The gaps in the plan include many of the areas closer to shore, areas which are under threat from drilling and trawling activities.
“With the state government currently considering legislation to protect the Margaret River region from coal mining, shouldn’t its iconic shores also have Federal protection from the threat of oil spills?
“There is strong public support for effective marine sanctuaries. The Minister needs to listen to the voice of the 75% of West Australians who believe more marine protection is needed,” concluded Senator Siewert.