Australia to establish Protection Zones

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett revealed Wednesday more than 2.4 million square kilometers of ocean will be considered for marine protection zones along Australia’s east coast.

Eight areas, extending from the Torres Strait to southern New South Wales, have been proposed for further assessment as the government works towards establishing multiple “no take” (no fishing) and multiple use zones along the eastern seaboard.

“We want to ensure a representative area of marine ecosystem protected around the country,” the minister told reporters.

The seven areas include the Fraser, Tweed, Clarence, Batemans, Hunter, Clarence, Norfolk and Lord Howe zones as well as the Coral Sea.

“These areas for further assessment are just that, areas that we want to look at closely to identify what potential future marine protected areas can be put in place,” he said.

However, Garrett disappointed some environmental groups who had hoped for a one million square kilometer marine park in the Coral Sea.

“Critically, the government is not intending to have one large ‘no take area’ across the whole of the Coral Sea conservation zone, ” he said.

“We want to meet the really important goals of protecting the conservation and environment of the Coral Sea while at the same time allowing for mixed use.”