Sad but true, Australian Government sings the Coral Sea blues

Oceans cover 71 per cent of Earth, hence its nickname, the blue planet. But guess how much of the world’s oceans are fully protected? 

Just ONE per cent.  Shocking isn’t it?  Millions of species, including ours, rely on the oceans and yet 99 per cent of it is left virtually unprotected.

Public comment on the Australian Government’s draft plan for marine protected areas in Australia’s tropical northern waters has now closed.  We would like to send a huge thank you to all of you who sent in a submission – over 20,000 were sent by fantastic people who care about the future of our oceans, including many thousands from International Fund for Animal Welfare supporters demanding better protection for our last great whale haven in Australia’s north west.  

And now we need to ask you to speak up for the “Serengeti of the sea”. The government have released another draft marine reserve proposal for public comment, this time for part of the Coral Sea, except they seem to have forgotten to actually protect the coral and the incredible marine life that lives there.

While the western half of the area contains the most species rich reefs, only the eastern half of the Coral Sea has been set aside as a safe haven. Just two out of 25 reefs have been given high level protection. The good news is that oil and gas exploration won’t be permitted or fishing gear that destroys seafloors. The plan is a good start but it’s just not good enough.     

A recent poll found that almost seven in ten Queenslanders said they supported the government making the entire Coral Sea a marine national park. More than 55,000 letters have been received so far by federal MPs in support of this goal.

The release of the draft plan kicks off a 90-day public comment period. IFAW, as part of the Protect Our Coral Sea coalition will be encouraging all Australians to send a submission to the government calling for stronger protection levels. 

Please help us send a message to Minister Burke demanding some global leadership in ocean conservation by declaring the entire Coral Sea a marine national park, it’s what most Australians want and what the world needs.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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