PDA

View Full Version : Australia to increase environment protection  



jaybee
04-12-2003, 06:03 PM
ENN News
Wednesday, December 03, 2003 By Peter O'Connor, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia Fishing would be outlawed on one-third of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in a bid to protect its fragile marine environment and the multibillion dollar tourism industry it supports, the government announced Wednesday.

"It is based on the best science from Australia and internationally and will become an important insurance policy for environmental protection as well as security for industries and communities that depend on the reef," Environment Minister David Kemp said in a statement.

Kemp's proposal would increase so-called high protection green zones from 4.5 percent to 33.3 percent of the reef, or from 16,000 square kilometers to 114,000 square kilometers (6,200 square miles to 44,000 square miles). In these areas tourism would be the only industry allowed, and all fishing would be banned.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for almost 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) along Australia's northeast coast. It is the largest chain of coral reefs and islands in the world and one of Australia's most popular tourist spots. According to the government, tourism linked to the reef is worth A$4.3 billion (US$2.8 million) each year, dwarfing the recreation and commercial fishing industries that are currently permitted in the area.

But there have been concerns in recent years that overfishing is depleting the colorful marine life from sharks and turtles to tiny orange-and-white striped clown fish such as the one depicted in the movie blockbuster Finding Nemo.

Although some of the damage to the reef is blamed on fishing, environmentalists also say global warming and soil swept down rivers from farms after heavy rain also is having a devastating effect on the coral.

Global warming is believed to be to blame for coral bleaching when colorful reefs turn white due to rises in sea temperature. And soil swept into the ocean can form a smothering blanket over the coral.

Opposition parties have signaled support for the proposal, meaning it should get parliamentary approval and come into force by the middle of next year.

Environmental group Greenpeace welcomed the move but said it did not go far enough by protecting only one-third of the reef.

"We think it's a great start, although there is growing scientific evidence that at least 50 percent of the reef should be a marine reserve," said Greenpeace spokeswoman Linda Apps. "We think it's a shame that the destructive activities have been allowed in the past, like bottom trawling by fishing boats which just flattens everything on the sea bed."

Kemp said the plan was drafted over two years of talking to communities and industry groups along the Queensland coast and would turn the Great Barrier Reef into the largest network of protected marine parks in the world.

Fisheasy
05-12-2003, 05:36 AM
ENN News
Wednesday, December 03, 2003 By Peter O'Connor, Associated Press

Although some of the damage to the reef is blamed on fishing, environmentalists also say global warming and soil swept down rivers from farms after heavy rain also is having a devastating effect on the coral.

Global warming is believed to be to blame for coral bleaching when colorful reefs turn white due to rises in sea temperature. And soil swept into the ocean can form a smothering blanket over the coral.

Environmental group Greenpeace welcomed the move but said it did not go far enough by protecting only one-third of the reef.

"We think it's a great start, although there is growing scientific evidence that at least 50 percent of the reef should be a marine reserve," said Greenpeace spokeswoman Linda Apps. "We think it's a shame that the destructive activities have been allowed in the past, like bottom trawling by fishing boats which just flattens everything on the sea bed."




I tend to agree that trawling shouldn't be allowed however a blanket ban on all fishing isn't going to stop the reef from being destroyed by the other factors mentioned above. However, the government is still keen to open the coastline to development, destroying mangroves and rivers in the process. And geez, it all comes back on the poor ol fisho who has to suffer because of poor government decisions in the past, and present.