The Australian Greens said today that reports on extreme coral bleaching off the WA coast, coupled with the ongoing threat of warming oceans, shows the importance of marine protection and action to tackle climate change.
"Strong marine protection and management of marine parks is a crucial part of preparing for a warming climate, which is clearly already affecting our state's unique marine life," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"Ocean acidification, temperature changes and the movements of currents all impact our marine environment, including fish stocks, marine mammals and bird life.
"These impacts will severely jeopardise a range of industries in the years to come. Economic analysis from the Centre for Policy Development shows our South-West ecosystem is worth $2.9 billion each year through tourism, commercial fishing, and recreation-based industries. It is economically irresponsible not to protect the jobs and communities which rely on these industries.
"By ignoring the threat of climate change, Tony Abbott and his government are ignoring WA's future. They have scrapped the management plans for our nation's world-leading network of marine protected areas and are working to abolish effective action on climate change, two important measures to secure fish stocks and the marine environment for the future.
"There is irrefutable evidence as to the damage climate change is causing to our oceans. The Government cannot pretend this problem doesn't exist.
"Acting on climate change is critical to protecting our state. The Greens support a strong, responsible and evidence based approach to marine protection and climate change," Senator Siewert concluded.