Today the Department of Environment released a landmark report strongly supporting the benefits of a network of marine sanctuaries for Western Australia.
Billed at the time of commissioning as the definitive scientific statement on marine sanctuaries in WA; this report was designed to end years of debate into the need for marine sanctuaries and their place in protecting WA’s marine life.
The Report on the Scientific Basis for and the Role of Marine Sanctuaries in Marine Planning, was completed by independent scientists appointed by the former Minister for the Environment, and recommended by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution with advice from the then Fisheries Minister and Resources Minister.
The report comes on the back of recent studies from the Great Barrier Reef that showed major environmental benefits from the increases in protection there – including a two fold increase in fish populations.
It also supports a recent study by the Allen Consulting Group that shows long term economic benefits from a network of marine sanctuaries in WA’s southwest waters.
The new report makes strong recommendations for the implementation of a network of large marine sanctuaries as an essential tool in our efforts to protect marine life
“With this new evidence, the State Government no longer has any excuse not to create large new marine sanctuaries in WA’s southwest and at Camden Sound,” said Conservation Council marine spokesperson Tim Nicol.
“Currently less than 1% of WA’s marine environment is protected; this report paves the way for immediate action towards a network of large marine sanctuaries for WA.”
“The report highlights the very strong evidence of benefits from marine sanctuaries for marine life, and the likely benefits to our ailing fisheries.”
“A network of large marine sanctuaries will allow our marine life to survive and thrive again. We may then once again see the abundance of large fish that our grandparents took for granted.”
The report is available at http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/content/category/40/952/2323/
The Conservation Council is campaigning for large marine sanctuaries in the Commonwealth waters off WA’s southwest as part of the Save Our Marine Life alliance (www.saveourmarinelife.org.au)