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Senate calls on Government to reinstate our marine reserve system

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 Oct 2015

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed Senate support for her motion calling on the Government to reinstate marine protected areas and their management plans, especially after recent news that mass coral die-off is looming.

“Just recently we learned how the world’s oceans are experiencing the third-ever global bleaching that could become the largest coral die-off ever.

By the beginning of next year 38% of the world’s reefs will have been affected and about 5% will die forever.

“Rising sea temperatures threaten our iconic, precious Great Barrier Reef with mass coral bleaching, leaving the 67 000 jobs the Reef supports at risk.

“This highlights yet again the importance of ensuring that we protect areas of our marine environments, protecting areas from other impacts helps ensure they are more resilient and gives our reefs a fighting chance. We have unique marine species found nowhere else in the world, but right around the country, our oceans are under threat.

“When Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, his Government scrapped the management plans for our world-leading network of marine protected areas, effectively scrapping our marine reserve system. 

“The Government is now reviewing our marine protected areas, despite the fact that they are based on decades of work.  The Prime Minister should now abandon this review and reinstate our world-leading network of marine protected areas.

“If Malcolm Turnbull surrenders on marine protection, our oceans will remain more vulnerable to pollution, overfishing, oil and gas exploration and climate change.

“Early action and investment in mitigation plans, adaptation strategies and fisheries management need to be part of efforts to respond to the impacts of climate change on our oceans.

Motion reads:

879 Senator Siewert: To move—That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the release of the World Wide Fund for Nature report Living Blue Planet Report: Species, habitats and human well-being,

(ii) that the report found that:

(A) 29 per cent of marine fisheries are overfished and that marine species are under increasing threat around the globe, including around one in four species of sharks, rays and skates are threatened with extinction,

(B) key habitats, including coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves, are declining, and

(C) by increasing the marine protected area coverage to 30 per cent, up to US$920 billion could be generated between 20l5 and 2050, and

(iii) the Government‘s suspension of the marine protected areas with the ‗redevelopment‘ of marine protected area management plans; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

(i) re-instate the marine protected areas management plans and marine protected areas, and

(ii) consider the solutions outlined in the report.

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