Australia's proposal to establish the world's second largest marine national park in the Coral Sea is a pivotal step toward ocean conservation. But, huge populations of fish will remain exposed to harmful fishing practices unless the Australian Environment Minister expands the protection plan.
Vital populations of fish will be left vulnerable to fishing if the marine national park zone is not extended. The current proposal leaves sharks and other large ocean fish defenseless as they roam the reef walls just outside the protected zone.
In the southern Coral Sea, long-line fishing threatens major fish species. This devastation of significant wildlife can be prevented, as long-line fishermen are willing to stop fishing the region if given the proper financial assistance. Don't leave the Coral Sea at risk! Tell the Australian Environment Minister not to rob the ecologically diverse ocean reefs of vital species!
Congratulations on your proposal to establish the world's largest marine reserve in the Coral Sea free of any oil and gas exploration; especially the very large marine national park in the eastern half which now protects more reefs than the draft plan.
The proposed marine reserve is an important step towards protecting one of the most intact tropical pelagic ecosystems in the world. I endorse the reserve proposal as outlined in the Government Gazette on 11 July 2012.
In addition, I ask that you make two improvements to the Coral Sea proposal:
- In the northern Coral Sea, I very much welcome the extended marine national park zone over Osprey Reef, Shark and Vema Reefs. However, the zone does not extend far enough, leaving sharks and other large ocean fish that patrol the reef walls vulnerable to fishing. It's these very species that divers from around the world come to see. I strongly urge you to make the western boundary of these reefs the same longitude as the draft planĺs Habitat Protection Zone, whilst keeping the marine national park zoning.áThis would allow the protection of important and healthy reef-associated pelagic populations that make these reefs so majestic and iconic.
- In the southern Coral Sea, I understand that the major long-line operators who fish the waters down to 22 degrees south are willing to exit the area, provided they receive fair and reasonable financial assistance. I strongly urge you to take this opportunity and remove long line fishing from this biologically significant area by extending the marine national park zone to 22 degrees south, including Townsville Trough and the beautiful Marion, Frederick and Wreck Reefs.á
I also endorse the reserve proposals in the other four marine regions of Australia: the south west, north west, north and temperate east; and also ask that you make improvements to the proposals in these regions.
Please consider these my comments on the proclamation of the proposal to declare the final Commonwealth marine reserves. (The factual content in this letter is supplied by the Protect our Coral Sea campaign, www.protectourcoralsea.org.au)
[Your personal note will be here]
Sincerely, [Your name here]
- Your federal MP
- Senator Joe Ludwig
- Senator Jan McLucas
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities
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