IFAW urges Tony Abbott to build on progress towards marine reserves around Australia
Today Tony Abbott revealed the Coalition’s plan to a support a private member Bill that if passed will halt the development of large world class marine reserves in Commonwealth waters. This will leave several of Australia’s most pristine and fragile marine environments, coral reefs and critical breeding areas at risk of unacceptable damage.
“IFAW is extremely disappointed that Mr Abbott seems to have been taken in by campaigns of misinformation about the marine reserves proposal, especially given the strong legacy of the Coalition on marine protection – including improvements to protection of the Great Barrier Reef and introducing marine reserves in the south-east in 2007” said Matthew Collis, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
“Many independent marine scientists have emphasised time and time again that marine reserves are desperately needed to protect special marine areas and the variety of marine life that depend on these areas, like whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks and many fish species. Mr Abbott seems to be confusing the issue of fisheries management with marine protected areas. It is not a choice between one or the other, the two are complimentary. Marine reserves are to protect special places in our oceans just like we have national parks on land. IFAW urges Mr Abbott to build on progress put in place by the Howard Government, including the world’s first Oceans Policy, twenty marine parks, and protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
Mr Collis continues: “Less than one percent of Australia’s remaining marine regions are protected and recent polling has demonstrated that Australians want to see the job finished. In fact 70% of Australians approve of the marine reserves plans and only 13% opposed. For Coalition voters the figures were 62% approve 22% disapprove. IFAW urges Mr Abbott to listen to the scientists and his own voters to ensure that our marine life is preserved not just for today but for generations to come.”
IFAW Campaigner Matthew Collis is available for interview. Contact: Rebekka Thompson-Jones, IFAW Communications Manager, 0401 090 034 or firstname.lastname@example.org
 Essential Research July 2012 http://essentialvision.com.au/