Act now to save our tropical sea life
4 November 2011
Right now, the Federal Environment Minister is considering how much of Australia's tropical North and Northwestern waters he will safeguard in new marine reserves.
Think of tropical seas and you probably think of healthy turquoise waters brimming with incredible sea life, not an industrial wasteland choked with oil rigs and fishing fleets.
The tropical waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Top End, Kimberley, Pilbara and Ningaloo are still a haven providing critical habitat for endangered sea turtles, vulnerable dugong, rare snubfin dolphins and migratory humpback whales.
Yet less than 1% of these vast waters are effectively protected - ugly industrialisation is the fate Australia's northern seas are facing unless we act now.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is considering how much of our northern waters he will safeguard. Tragically he has released plans that would leave nearly all of our northern seas open to drilling, mining and fishing.
The Minister is planning to keep just 3% of the North and 12% of the Northwest safe from drilling, mining and over-fishing. This proposal is totally inadequate and will not protect the critical habitats of our turtles, dugong, whales, fish and dolphins from destructive fishing and industrial development.
Australians from around the country want the Minister to do better. Please send Minister Burke a message that he must safeguard the rare and threatened tropical sea life of Northern Australia in a network of large marine sanctuaries from Kalbarri in WA to the Torres Strait in Queensland.
Thanks for your support - every voice counts!
Please write to the Environment Minister, the Hon Tony Burke MP by email to Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au or by fax to 02 6273 6101
Also copy your correspondence to Submissions.North@environment.gov.au and Submissions.Northwest@environment.gov.au and ask that your email be considered as a submission into the Federal government's marine planning public consultation process.
Let the Minister know that the current proposals:
- Give full protection to only 3% of the North and only 12% of the North-west regions, leaving the rest open to damaging fishing practices and oil and gas development;
- Fail to adequately protect critical habitat for threatened species including humpback whales, whale sharks, flatback turtles and snubfin dolphins;
- Do not meet international scientific benchmarks for protection;
- Fail to protect the most important and iconic areas for tropical marine life;
Northern Region - Only one of the 12 underwater icons is fully protected, leaving the Central Gulf/Cape York, Limmen Bight, Coburg Pinnacles, Arafura Canyons and Fog Bay exposed to oil and gas drilling, seabed mining and overfishing.
North-west Region - Only one of the 15 marine icons is fully protected, leaving spectacular places like the whale feeding canyons off Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef; turtle and dugong havens along the Pilbara coast; coral atolls like the Rowley Shoals; and whale breeding grounds off the Kimberley coast vulnerable to degradation and industrial development.
Let the Minister know that the number and size of marine sanctuaries in North and North-west must dramatically increase to protect these important and iconic areas. Sanctuaries must protect a sample of all habitats, in both shallow and deep water, if our sealife is to have a real chance of survival.
Please write by 28th November 2011.
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.