Addressing coral bleaching, investment in shark research, and reinstating our comprehensive marine parks system have been announced as part of the Australian Greens marine package today.
Australian Greens spokesperson on marine issues, Senator Rachel Siewert said:
“As a nation Australia is incredibly proud of our unique marine ecosystems, yet they are at risk from climate change, overfishing, oil and gas production and other challenges.
“Sharks are crucial to our marine environments, but there is still much we don’t know. Additional funding will be provided to support tagging programs and satellite monitoring.
“If we are going to develop the strongest non-lethal shark mitigation strategies we need to understand sharks as best as possible. We can keep ocean users safe without culling an apex predator that is essential to marine ecosystem health; the more we know about sharks the better.
“When the Liberal and National party formed government in 2013, Tony Abbott scrapped our comprehensive marine park system established by previous Government.
“Since then, while the reserves have undergone ‘review’, the marine parks have become simply lines on the map. The Greens package would immediately reinstate this comprehensive network of marine parks so that our oceans have the best chance of withstanding warming oceans and climate change.
“The package would also fund compensation for commercial fishers impacted by the reserve system at a cost of $69.5 million.
“An additional $8m for coral bleaching research would also ensure that we can best understand how climate change will impact our reefs so that we can best protect them.“The Greens will take real action to protect our marine environment, not only ensuring our marine reserves are made operational but also protecting key species, including sharks that are increasingly under pressure, and ecosystems”.