Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park Draft Released

The Western Australian Government has released another draft plan for public comment in the series of planned marine parks for the Kimberley, and this effort was much better than the previous proposal for protection in Camden Sound.

Media statement and relevant links for proposal and how to make comment from the Government here.

Here’s hoping this is a new direction for the WA Government who appear to be increasingly realising the strong support in the science community, and the general community, for increased marine sanctuary protection for WA’s unique marine life.

The challenge is also on for the Federal Government.  Beyond the three nautical miles controlled by the State, the current Federal Government proposal for protection in the North West has very little marine sanctuary protection, and almost none in important coastal waters. I’ll post more on this issue in the next couple of weeks.

Media Statements from Conservation Groups below:

Conservation Council of WA, Environs Kimberley and Wilderness Society

Conservation groups welcome new Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park

Conservation groups today welcomed the release of a draft plan for the new Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park but warned that large scale industrialisation of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions still threatened marine life.

Marine Campaigner for The Wilderness Society WA Jenita Enevoldsen said, “With the inclusion of three large marine sanctuaries, the new Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park brings improved marine protection to important near-shore habitats in the Pilbara, including the breeding beaches of the threatened Flatback turtle and internationally significant Ramsar wetlands.  It is critical this level of protection be maintained or strengthened in the final plan.”

Marine Coordinator at Conservation Council of WA Tim Nicol said, “We commend the Barnett Government for listening to calls from marine scientists and the broader community for larger marine sanctuaries to protect our unique and precious marine life.

“Marine sanctuaries have been shown to protect threatened marine life and help fish stocks to recover.  However, less than 1% of WA’s State and Federal waters are currently protected in marine sanctuaries.”

The new marine park comes just days after the announcement of another major LNG development for the Pilbara and amid the continuing campaign against industrialisation of the Kimberley coast.

Conservation groups are also still waiting to hear if the proposed Camden Sound marine park will be improved to provide adequate marine sanctuary protection. In addition, concerns remain over the lack of protection offered to near-shore waters in the Commonwealth Government’s plans for new marine parks in the North West.

Acting Director of Environs Kimberley Emma Belfield said, ““This draft plan is a step forward for the future of marine parks in WA. However, with several large-scale industrial developments on the horizon – including recent oil and gas releases just off Eighty Mile Beach – much more needs to be done to protect our precious North Western marine environments.”


WWF-Australia reaction to Eighty MileBeachmarine park proposal

Paul Gamblin, WWF-Australia Marine Protected Areas Manager said:


“This stretch of tropical coastline is a sanctuary for turtles, shorebirds, sawfish and dolphins. It deserves high levels of protection and this plan is a solid start in that process.


“WWF applauds the potential of this proposal to offer real joint management opportunities for Aboriginal communities in the region. To turn these opportunities into reality, the Government must invest money to back up the proposal.


“The approval of mega-projects like Gorgon and Wheatstone shows the oil and gas industry continues to march into the globally important tropical marine environment offWestern Australia’sKimberley. Governments have a lot of catching up to do as less than one per cent of this region is fully protected.


“This proposal is a small but important part of the network of sanctuaries that urgently need to be created in WA and Commonwealth waters.


“Premier Barnett has already promised to deliver strong protection for Camden Sound and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke must be ambitious in his marine park proposals for the region from Shark Bay and Ningaloo up to the Kimberley, which currently fails to protect shallow water wildlife habitats and important whale feeding areas.”




WWF and Toilet Paper

The growth of recycled toilet paper and the marketing response of the established brands has been an object of fascination for me at the super market (it’s a pretty boring place).  I’ve always felt that if we can’t use recycled products for that, then what will we use them for…

Recently, the increasing appearance of environmental marketing  for non-recycled products was the best sign that recycled brands must be taking an increasing market share, perhaps a sign of a win for commonsense and an increasing environmental ethic? (I note the ‘eco-ply’ with a ‘recycled middle layer’,  is probably the funniest attempt at green washing of toilet paper that I’ve so far seen).

But then one day walking past the section I saw a new brand on the shelf, and it wasn’t a new manufacturers brand. I did a double take to check, and realised it was indeed the WWF Panda.  I  had a closer look wondering if I’d been buying the wrong brand, only to note that it wasn’t made from recycled paper but FSC certified paper.

That got me thinking if I was wrong and that there was some strong argument why certified toilet paper would be more environmentally friendly than recycled toilet paper – so I went to the company website – but found  no explanation there about why certified paper is better than recycled.  The WWF website also had no such explanation.

So I went to Google to get a feel for what others were thinking.  And found the following:

TheEcologist.org – general discussion on the pro’s and cons, but overall recycled wins.

The Good Guide – rates toilet paper products on sustainability, all recycled products all at the top of the list, the WWF endorsed brand well down the list.

G Mag – bit of an ode to recycled toilet paper to prove I’m not alone.

WipeItOut campaign – to really prove I’m not alone – they want an end to non-recycled toilet paper in Australia by 2014.  270,000 trees cut down a day just for use in manufacturing non-recycled toilet paper!

Here – a 2006 Earth Day call to go recycled.

I tried to justify this, thinking it wouldn’t make much difference.  But then I spoke to a friend about it who said they had lost a long standing battle with their partner over buying recycled toilet paper after they saw the WWF logo on the non-recycled alternative.

As always, I maintain an open mind if new information comes to light.  But for now it seems to me that if an environment group brand is to appear in our supermarkets, someone should be making sure it only appears on the best choice on the shelf.

Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide released for iPhone

Eat seafood?  Want to make the best and most sustainable seafood choice?  The Australian Marine Conservation Society has just made it easier for iPhone users with their sustainable seafood guide being adapted to an iPhone App by WPS Environmental.

You can get it by searching ‘sustainable seafood’ on the App store.  If you’ve got an Android or other phone, guess you’ll have to watch this space or just visit www.marineconservation.org.au where you can order the guide or view the summary online.

You can see the App at the App store here.

See the ad for the release from famous Australian Chef Guy Grossi:


New Report Finds Marine Sanctuaries An Important Economic Investment


Conservation groups today welcomed the release of a compelling new study of Australia’s ocean resources. The report finds that establishing a network of marine sanctuaries would help to secure and boost the economic, environmental and social benefits that Australians receive.

Released today by the Centre for Policy Development (CDP), the report: “Stocking Up: Securing Our Marine Economy” identified that Australia’s marine life, fish stocks and ecosystems are worth $69 billion per year to the national economy.

However, CPD’s analysis found that official accounts currently recognise only $44 billion in value and overlook $25 billion per year in critical ‘ecosystem services’, which include carbon storage, seafood, recreation and tourism.

CPD’s study also focused on Australia’s South West waters, revealing that the region’s ecosystem services currently contribute at least $2.9 billion per year and would increase if measures to safeguard the region improved. Later this year, the federal government is due to make a decision on establishing new marine sanctuaries in the South West.

The Save Our Marine Life alliance of 11 conservation groups is urging the federal government to act on the report’s findings and establish a network of large marine sanctuaries in Australia’s South West region.

“This important report found marine protection is vital in high risk areas where corals and sea grasses exist, such as at Geographe Bay, Cape Naturaliste and the Abrolhos Islands” said Michelle Grady of the Pew Environment Group.

“The findings also identified the opportunity Australia now has to invest in the long-term future of the South West by establishing sanctuaries. Regional jobs would benefit from the growth in tourism, and oceans resources, such as fish stocks and other marine life, would also improve, benefitting all Australians”.

The CPD report reinforces the findings of a March 2010 economic assessment by the independent Allen Consulting Group on the impact of marine sanctuaries in the South West. The Allen Consulting Group analysis found that the creation of marine sanctuaries would lead to a rapid growth in regional tourism, contributing to the injection of up to $55 million per year into the Western Australian economy.

Ms Grady called on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to redouble his efforts to protect Australia’s marine life and act on the consensus of scientific evidence supporting the creation of a network of sanctuaries around the country.

“Healthy oceans support healthy regional communities and our economy. Any decline in their value

could impact thousands of regional jobs and limit the benefits we all receive as a result” said Ms Grady.

CPD’s report is available at: http://cpd.org.au/2011/09/stocking-up/ 

Initial Media Coverage: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8297206