Success Story: Protecting Australia's Coral Sea
Australia's Coral Sea is one of the last remaining places on Earth where large marine animals can still be found in great numbers. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and seabirds make their homes in this region, which is defined by spectacular coral reefs, remote islands, towering underwater mountains and deep-sea canyons.
The Coral Sea also has a rich maritime history. It was the site of a naval engagement in May 1942 that turned the tide of the Pacific campaign during World War II.
Over the past 50 years, 90 percent of the largest fish species have disappeared worldwide. The Coral Sea is one of the last places on Earth where large numbers of sharks, tuna, humpback whales and dolphins can still be found.
Very large, fully protected marine reserves can help safeguard these species by safeguarding their seasonal breeding or feeding grounds, or parts of their migratory routes.
Unfortunately, less than one percent of the Coral Sea is protected.
Through its Protect Our Coral Sea campaign, Global Ocean Legacy works with Australian conservation organizations to help preserve this unique area. The goal is to establish a large, well-protected marine park in the Coral Sea that would provide a haven for marine life and recognize the area's geological, cultural and historic significance. Such a park would make an unparalleled contribution to the world's marine heritage.
In 2009, the Australian federal environment minister recognized the value of the Coral Sea by designating the portion that is within Australian waters a Conservation Zone. This designation allows for a full assessment of the conservation values of the area, but it does not change allowable uses, and the measure is only temporary.
We are calling on the Australian government to go further and create the world's largest highly protected marine park in 2011.
What You Can Do
Ask the Australian government to establish a highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea. Without strong protection, the beauty and biodiversity of the Coral Sea will decline. It's important that we take action now.