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Australians now have until September 10 to let the Federal Government know they want national oceans protection in place to safeguard our nation’s coastal way of life.
The government has proposed a national network of marine reserves and is asking Australians to show their support so the network can be established.
The national reserve network will cover 40 per cent of Australia’s waters, which are home to 45 of the world’s 78 whale and dolphin species, six of the seven known species of marine turtle and 4,000 fish species.
While the marine reserves are mostly in offshore waters, they will have positive effects closer to the shore.
In the Coral Sea and off south west Australia, oil and gas exploration will be prohibited under the network, reducing the threat of pollution washing up on some of our most spectacular beaches.
As most of the proposed reserves are in deep offshore waters, they will have little or no effect on anglers. Recreational fishing will be allowed in 96 per cent of Australia’s waters within 100 kilometres of land.
Fishing from jetties, beaches and rock platforms or in estuaries is completely unaffected anywhere in Australia by the network.
In fact, these reserves will benefit recreational fishers because they allow fish to breed without the threat of damaging commercial fishing methods like bottom trawling.
Recent research in green zones suggests that as fish stocks replenish, fish spill over into areas where recreational fishing takes place.
Some commercial fishers will have to make changes to where and how they fish with the reserves in place.
Analysis by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences shows the gross value of commercial fishing production displaced by all of the proposed reserves across Australia is $28.3 million.
The Federal Government has committed funding in the order of $100 million to support commercial fishers directly affected.
The reserves are also expected boost tourism and encourage boating based on past examples.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park generates more than $5 billion through tourism every year and boat registrations have increased in towns near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
With benefits for the tourism industry, minimal effects on recreational fishing and generous funding to the commercial fishing industry, the proposed marine reserve network will prove popular across Australia.
With benefits for the tourism industry, minimal effects on recreational fishing and generous compensation for the commercial fishing industry, the proposed reserve network is a socially and economically responsible way for Australia to become a global leader in oceans protection.
You can urge the government to take this historic step by going to the federal environment department’s website and following the prompts at:
From there you can email your comments with any additional information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments must be sent by Monday 10 September 2012.