West Perth, Australia -
03/29/2009 - World-first research has found that protected areas for marine life play a major role in rebuilding numbers of threatened fish and other species, the Save Our Marine Life alliance said today.
The research on baby orange clownfish by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University has also proven that a network of marine protected areas protects species from local extinction. Clownfish are also found in Western Australia at the Abrolhos Islands.
Save Our Marine Life spokesperson Michelle Grady from the Pew Environment Group said the new research demonstrates the need for the federal government to create a network of marine sanctuaries in the south west of Australia, where less than one per cent of the marine environment is protected.
“This research shows that small, isolated marine parks simply do not provide the necessary protection for marine life that has been fished to the edge of extinction and that creating a network of protected areas will ensure our unique marine life survives into the future.”
The research was published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS): http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/03/20/0808007106.abstract#aff-3
The results were also announced on the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies’ website: http://www.coralcoe.org.au/news_stories/marineparks.html
“The globally significant south west region of Australia, from Esperance to Kalbarri, is home to a far greater proportion of unique marine life than the Great Barrier Reef and is in urgent need of a network of marine sanctuaries,” Ms Grady said.
Save Our Marine Life is a major new collaboration of Australian and international conservation groups - the Conservation Council of Western Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, WWF Australia, Australian Marine Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy and the Pew Environment Group.
Ms Grady called on the federal government to review its approach to marine protection in Australia and dramatically increase the areas set aside for protection.
Public support for marine protection is high. Public polling conducted by Essential Research late last year found that 75 percent of West Australians believed there is not enough marine protection in place.
Media enquiries Paul Sheridan, 0410 516 656