Australia's Coral Sea is now a sparkling new marine park. At nearly one million square kilometres of clear water, coral reefs and spectacular marine life, it truly is the jewel in the crown of the new system of ocean parks around Australia. The Coral Sea will be free from oil and gas exploration, and half will be protected from all kinds of fishing. But two areas in the park - important for sharks and big ocean fish - need more protection.
It's crucial we tell Environment Minister Tony Burke to protect these two special places in the management plan public comment period open now. Let him know that Australians want an effective Coral Sea management plan, so that future generations can marvel at its whales, turtles and coral reefs and know that this iconic sea is safeguarded for all time.
Please add your name to our letter. Together, we CAN make a difference for our precious Coral Sea and the creatures that call it home.
Dear Environment Minister Tony Burke,
Thank you for establishing the Coral Sea Marine Reserve.
The Coral Sea truly is the jewel in the crown of the new national system of marine reserves.
I now urge you to do all you can to protect this special place into the future by developing a comprehensive and effective management plan.
I also urge you to make two changes to the zoning system in the management plan. These will greatly help to maintain the health of one of the most intact tropical pelagic ecosystems in the world.
1. Extend the marine national park zone around Shark, Vema and Osprey Reefs further west by 10 kms to ensure that the important reef-associated pelagic species and reef slopes are fully protected. These are vital elements of the reef system and the current zoning does not protect them. This change would come at no additional financial cost to the government.
2. Provide financial assistance to the long line fishers who are willing to stop fishing down to 22 degrees South and extend the marine national park zone over this area (excluding Saumarez Reef and the General Use zone; and adding an extension around the historically significant Wreck Reef). This will fully protect more reefs, the Townsville Trough - a 'blue highway' important to migratory species - and part of the southern Coral Sea - a global predator hot spot for sharks, tunas and marlin.
I also urge you to:
1. Extend the world-class compliance management system used in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park over the Coral Sea Marine Reserve; and
2. Ensure new and adequate funding for implementation of the management plan.
Minister Burke, the Coral Sea Marine Reserve will be one of your great legacies. Please do your utmost to ensure that this marine treasure is well looked after, on behalf of us all.
(The factual content in this letter is supplied by the Protect Our Coral Sea campaign, www.protectourcoralsea.org.au)
[Your personal message will appear here.]
Please count this as my submission to the proposal to prepare a draft Coral Sea Marine Reserve Management Plan.
[Your name will appear here]
Cc Your federal MP
Cc Senator Joe Ludwig
Cc Senator Jan McLucas
Cc Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities, (public comments on the proposal to prepare a draft Coral Sea Marine Reserve Management Plan)