ACt now to help protect our Coral Sea
2 December 2011
Right now the Australian government is deciding the fate of Australia' s Coral Sea.
The government' s draft plan for this iconic area leaves out the majority of species-rich coral reefs and critical habitat sites such as breeding sites for tuna and marlin. Critical habitats for turtles, whales and sharks are proposed to remain open to fishing.
Many of the jewels in the crown of the Coral Sea remain unprotected as they lie in the western half: with only two of about 25 unprotected reefs given a high level of protection.
By extending the proposed marine national park to include the western half of the Coral Sea, the Australian government could create the world' s single largest marine national park.
Australians from around the country want the Minister to do better. You can make a difference. Please send Minister Burke a message that he must protect the critical habitats of our threatened marine life, and create a lasting ocean legacy through the creation of a very large Coral Sea marine national park.
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.CoralSea@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 do not fully protect:
- Coral Reefs - the majority of which are critical habitats forming breeding and feeding sites for a whole host of marine life, such as Osprey Reef, considered one of the world' s top 10 shark dive sites. In the current proposals only two of about 25 unprotected reefs given a high level of protection
- Vital Breeding Sites ' under the current proposal the only known spawning site in the world for black marlin will still be available for recreational and charter fishing. Globally vulnerable bigeye tuna; and near threatened yellowfin tuna will continue to be caught commercially in a large area of the proposed Coral Sea Marine Reserve. These spawning aggregations occur in the Townsville Trough and Queensland Trough. These major trough systems should be included in the large marine national park.
- Underwater Volcanoes - the underwater volcanoes in the southern Coral Sea which are a globally significant hotspot for top ocean predators such as sharks, tuna and marlin. Under the existing proposal they will remain open to longline fishing and various other forms of fishing. All the underwater volcanoes and their associated reefs should be included in the large marine national park.
- Submarine Canyons and other Amazing Formations - Canyons and knolls in the deeper reaches of the Queensland Trough are known to host unique cold-water coral assemblages of high conservation significance. Geological features of the Townsville Trough, western Queensland Plateau and most of the Marion Plateau fall outside the highly protected national park zone in the current proposal. This should be rectified in the final plan. Â·The Coral Sea is an iconic marine environment with a diversity of habitats, ranging from sand cays to cavernous basins over 4000m deep. It is the interconnected and near intact habitats that make the Coral Sea special yet the proposed Coral Sea Marine Reserve fails to adequately protect these features as one integrated ecosystem. At a time when there is so little known about the diversity and vulnerability of the Coral Sea this ocean treasure is deserving of our greatest protection.
Let the Minister know that the critical habitats ' the breeding and feeding areas ' of our marine animals must be protected through inclusion in the Coral Sea Marine Reserve.
Please write by 24th February 2012.
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.