CCG Temperate East Report to Australia's Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review

In reviewing the available data on the Temperate East Marine Reserve Network the Centre for Conservation Geography makes five key findings relating to a review of the zoning plans for the Temperate East Marine Reserves (the Temperate East Reserve Network and it’s zoning was passed into law by the Abbott Government in December 2013[1]):

  1. Marine National Park Zones:  Are critical to the protection of the Temperate East Marine Region’s marine life with the weight of scientific evidence showing that partially protected zones don’t deliver the broad ranging and significant benefits for marine life of highly protected zones. The Centre for Conservation Geography recommends expanding the number and size of Marine National Park Zones in the Temperate East Marine Reserve Network.
  2. Social and economic impacts: The information compiled by the Centre for Conservation Geography shows that the net social and economic value of the Temperate East Marine Reserve Network to the Australian community is upwards of $1.8 billion. Within this positive impacts on nature based tourism and recreational fishing are expected to outweigh any possible negative impacts on commercial fishing. Community support for the marine reserves is very strong with over 95% of the more than 5,000 submissions to the public consultation process supportive of increased protection for the Temperate East Marine Region. The zoning plan could be improved so as to enhance the positive social and economic impacts by establishing Marine National Park Zones on the shelf and upper slope and by extending the area protected from destructive fishing practices like trawling.
  3. Destructive fishing practices:  The Government’s risk assessment process found nine commercial fishing practices to be incompatible with the conservation values of the Temperate East Marine Reserve Network. The zoning plan should be adjusted to ensure that these five fishing practices are fully removed from the Temperate East Marine Reserve Network.
  4. Seabed mining:  The Temperate East Reserve Network leaves 86% of the Temperate East Marine Region open to seabed mining including high conservation locations like around Jervis Bay, Port Stephens and the Solitary Islands. Australian’s do not want to see mining across such large swathes of our oceans. The zoning plan for the Temperate East Reserve Network needs to play a more significant role in helping to find a better balance between mining and the other values of the ocean.
  5. Unprotected habitats:  Major concerns exist within the scientific community about the low level of protection for the unique habitats of the shelf and upper slope environments of the Temperate East Marine Region. Marine National Park Zone protection of the shelf in the Temperate East Marine Region stands at 0.01% (continental slope:0%) and the current zoning plan for Temperate East Marine Reserve Network establishes no new Marine National Park Zones. The review should consider addressing this issue.


[1] Commonwealth of Australia, 2013. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Commonwealth Marine Reserves) Proclamation 2013 <http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013L02108>

 

Report: 
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CCG report on the Temperate East Marine Region to Australia's Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review in March 2015.
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