Despite a concerted misinformation campaign by some anti-conservation fishing groups, more than 66,000 people have already said yes to the Federal Government's plan to create the world's largest network of marine parks.
Today is the last day of public consultation on the ground breaking plan that includes new marine sanctuaries for marine life hotspots in WA such as Geographe Bay, the Perth Canyon, the Abrolhos Islands and the Recherche Archipelago near Esperance. The Perth environment and divers will benefit from a new sanctuary off Two Rocks in Perth’s northern suburbs.
A last minute rush of support is expected during the day that will come close to doubling the record of 40,000 submissions supporting marine sanctuaries in the South West set in a prior consultation period last year.
“The mood of the Australian community is clear,” said Marine Coordinator Tim Nicol, “Australians value their oceans and want marine sanctuaries to preserve our unique marine life hotspots, just like we have national parks on land.”
The 66,000 local voices for protection builds on the more than 500,000 who have already said yes to marine parks.
“During extensive consultation in the past three years hundreds of thousands of Australian’s have called for their government to act on the science and create marine sanctuaries to ensure our marine life survives and thrives for the benefit of future generations,” said Mr Nicol.
Official analysis by the Federal Environment Department has found creating the world’s largest network of marine parks will cost the fishing industry no more than $30 million - $3.97 billion less than some fishing groups have claimed. This represents approximately a 1% impact on the industry, which is less than the seasonal variation in fishing catch due to normal annual environmental and economic fluctuations.
“The record-breaking public interest and support for marine parks has not changed since the Federal Government first announced its plans two years ago and has not diminished, despite attempts by some anti-conservation fishing groups to spread misleading claims,” said Mr Nicol.
“The community knows that fear-mongering suggestions of skyrocketing seafood prices and increasing imports are misleading, and that sanctuaries will provide a healthier ocean which is good for both the environment and for fishing.”
“The creation of a national network of marine sanctuaries is a watershed moment, the debate is over and marine sanctuaries are now an accepted part of the future protection and management of our ocean heritage.”
For further comment:
Tim Nicol, 0422 235 774