The world’s biggest system of marine protected areas has been announced by Australia, providing, in places like the reefs of the Coral Sea’s wildlife, crucial protection. Potato cod and diver, Rowley Shoals. © Annabelle Sandes / Kimberley Media
This is an achievement which the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has been working for more than 15 years.
Coral reef. Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea. Image credit Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
“This announcement represents a major advance in marine conservation in Australia and sets an important example to the world,” said WWF marine conservation spokeperson, Paul Gamblin.
“While parks are protecting some areas, oil and gas rigs are still moving ever closer to places like the stunning Rowley Shoals and Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia. These are among the jewels in the crown for Australia’s marine environment and surrounding waters have not been protected under this plan.”
School of bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia. © Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
“The government has responded to huge public support for greater protection of our marine environment from growing industrial pressures but this national network still needs to be further refined to effectively protect Australia’s world-class marine life.
Today’s announcement lays a good foundation but all parties must now commit to building on this so we have an even better protected area system for Australia’s marine wildlife.”