The Pew Charitable Trusts expressed grave concern today at the Australian Government's announcement that it has suspended implementation of the world's largest network of marine parks. This decision casts doubt over a 15-year effort that garnered broad support from scientists, fishermen, conservationists, business leaders, and many others for the protection of:
Michelle Grady, who directs ocean conservation efforts for Pew in Australia, made the following statement:
"Like Australia's much-loved national parks, marine parks are fundamental to the future of our natural heritage. It is important that there is no further delay in implementing a national network of marine parks.
“The creation of this national network was the culmination of an effort that began in 1998 as a Howard Government initiative and resulted in the proclamation of 21 new marine parks.
"There is clear and overwhelming support from the public—in excess of 70 percent—for safeguarding our important marine areas. In addition, the marine park process has been one of the most consultative in Australia's history. It included almost 300 consultation meetings and hundreds of thousands of submissions. Scientific research conducted around Australia has shown the great value of marine parks to education and exploration of our marine environment.
"Australians share a common interest and understanding that setting aside some areas of the ocean to protect feeding and breeding sites and to allow fish and marine life to recover and rebuild is a logical and sensible precaution to take."