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New Marine Parks bad for the environment

12, June 2012

Environment Minister Tony Burke’s plans for a series of huge new marine parks around Australia will be detrimental to global marine biodiversity by transferring Australia’s sustainable harvest of seafood to heavily exploited Asian fisheries said the Australian Environment Foundation.

“Tony Burke has failed to make a case for new marine parks when Australia already has the world’s largest marine park, all parties agree our waters are in pristine condition and no Australian species are endangered by fishing” said AEF executive director Max Rheese.

“No demonstrated need backed by facts or evidence has been put on the table as to why these marine parks with their bans on fishing are necessary, particularly when we already have more marine protected area than the rest of the world combined.

“There is no threat to fish or biodiversity in Australian waters that these marine parks will address” said Mr Rheese.
Currently 70 per cent of the seafood consumed in Australia is imported. Further fishing bans will adversely affect Australian consumers and fishermen while adding to our $1.7 billion seafood import bill.

The Australian Environment Foundation recently commissioned a report by marine biologist Dr Walter Starck, which was sent to Mr Burke and every other federal member of parliament. This report clearly demonstrated how excessive environmental regulation restricting sustainable seafood harvest is causing perverse outcomes on global marine fish stocks by transferring Australian consumer demand to poorly regulated overseas fisheries.

“Mr Burke’s attention should not be diverted by misguided campaigns to ban fishing, led by foreign environment groups to address non-existent problems when we have real, existing and expensive environmental challenges with food production in the Murray Darling Basin.

“Mr Burke should be upfront and tell the Australian people what threats to marine biodiversity the new parks will address that the very large existing parks cannot” said Mr Rheese.

June 12th 2012

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