The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) commends the Australian Government’s international commitment to conserve 30 per cent of our ocean.
The Australian Government signed the Ocean Conservation Pledge – a global movement calling on countries to protect at least 30 per cent of the ocean within their jurisdictions by 2030 – at the COP 27 meeting in Egypt today.
While 45 per cent of Australia’s ocean is within marine protected areas, only 17 per cent is fully protected in sanctuary zones, with commercial trawling and offshore oil and gas exploration allowed in much of our marine parks.
“Oceans are vital to Australia’s way of life and economy, but they are at the forefront of bearing the brunt of global warming,” said AMCS Campaigns Director Tooni Mahto.
“The waters around south-east Australia are warming 3-4 times the global average, impacting fishers’ abilities to catch fish they historically caught in commercial fisheries, while 95 per cent of the giant kelp forests off Tasmania have been lost.
“Full protection of high conservation value areas of Australia’s globally important ocean estate is vital for marine wildlife, healthy ocean ecosystems and sustainable commercial fisheries. To be effective, these must be highly protected areas, known as marine sanctuaries, that represent the wide range of habitats that are home to our unique marine flora and fauna, and provide vital havens where marine life can recover, thrive and build resilience to threats such as global heating.
“The vast majority of Australians have a close connection to the ocean and are invested in ocean conservation and protection.
“The Australian Marine Conservation Society is looking forward to working with the government on delivering on this significant commitment, matching international ambition with national ocean protection.”