Our big blue backyard hosts the largest variety of marine life in the world. Whether we consider the big majestic creatures that leave us in awe, the brilliant sandy beaches, or the little flashes of colour that dart through coral reefs, there can be no doubting that our marine environment is part of our Australian identity.
Staggeringly less than 5% of our precious marine environment is protected from the types of exploitation that has changed the nature of too much of our ocean.
Fortunately we now have a very real chance to protect a large area of the Coral Sea that begins at the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and extends to our watery border. It’s a long way to go for a surf or swim though for the big fish like tuna, marlin and barracuda that call it home it’s an increasingly rare refuge.
To help make history for the Coral Sea sign our petition now.
The crystal clear depths of the Coral Sea are a tropical heaven for large fish that have been overfished in many parts of the globe – including our very own waters. These tuna and marlin, along side sharks dominate the ecosystems in the Coral Sea; unfortunately this is a rarity on the global stage.
In addition to the large fish, a staggering 42% of the world’s coral species that are threatened with extinction are found in the Coral Sea where oceanic reefs rise from depths of over 1000m. Recent research has revealed some incredibly deep reefs in the area of which we have only a fraction of an understanding. Throw in 28 species of threatened whales and dolphins and we’ve got a real marine treasure in our depths.
Less than 1% of the Coral Sea is currently protected. And with our oceans and their wildlife in a fight for their very survival there can be no better outcome than the creation of a large, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea.
Large, highly protected marine parks are a best practice, scientifically proven way, to protect the best that our oceans have to offer. Hundreds of marine scientists from all over the world, including Australia, have endorsed their establishment, including in the Coral Sea. Even large fish which travel huge distances have been shown to benefit from spending even part of their life cycle in highly protected marine parks free from fishing.
In the 1970s and 80s Australia lead the world with the protection of our precious marine areas including the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef. Now many other countries are taking up their responsibility to protect the marine wildlife and habitats within their waters. But more must be done to reverse the decline in our oceans. Australia must continue to rise to the challenges facing our marine life and protect special and iconic areas like the Coral Sea.
The next few months are shaping up to be big for the Coral Sea with the Commonwealth Government deciding the fate of this and other important marine environments around the country. Their choice is stark; the Coral Sea can be granted real protection, or it can remain with the 95% of our ocean that is open to exploitation. This is a rare opportunity, and one that our ocean wildlife cannot afford to miss.
A large, world-class, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea will help ensure that there are places in the ocean that we can experience wildlife in its natural form.
At a time in history when overfishing is changing the face of the ocean there can be no better ocean legacy than to protect our Coral Sea.
Please visit www.protectourcoralsea.org.au to sign the petition and add your voice to the call to help secure a great outcome for this iconic wilderness. You can also join us on facebook to stay updated on this exciting campaign.
By Daisy Barham from Australian Marine Conservation Society