Letter to the editor: Address real threats to our oceans
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest commits $100 million to ocean conservation as Minderoo Foundation takes to the seas
The West Australian
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
It is disappointing the article failed to mention key facts or look at real threats to Australia’s waters.
Australia’s Commonwealth Marine Parks are currently in place. Zoning arrangements exceed the United Nations and the International Union for Conservation of Nature marine park targets. Suggesting there needs to be a rethink on zoning would remove current conservation measures.
Australia’s oceans are in very good condition. However, international waters surrounding the 200-mile boundary around Australia are not. Fishing fleets in international waters catch significant amounts of tuna, billfish, by-product and by-catch illegally, unregulated and unreported. Most of these fish and animals would usually migrate through Australian waters.
Australian Commonwealth fisheries are tightly regulated. Vessel locations are monitored, catch is either viewed by electronic video monitoring or observed by officers. Fisheries are scientifically assessed for ecological and fish sustainability with many Australian fisheries certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
Andrew Forrest’s $100 million philanthropic donation is a welcomed initiative. Providing funds are directed into influencing and achieving sustainable management of the vast international seas surrounding Australia’s oceans. Outcomes from such an initiative would be very significant for industry, recreational fishers and the environment.
Australia leads the world in many areas of ocean research and conservation. We now need to extend our knowledge to the international space and bring about REAL change. If we fail to address international impacts on our waters as a matter of priority our children and grandchildren will not be able to enjoy our oceans in the future.