Conservation group pushes for marine sanctuaries in the north

THE Australian Marine Conservation Society is pushing for the federal government to introduce marine sanctuaries across Australia’s north and north west. 

In a press release issued today the conservation group cites two reports – Wild Blue Yonder and Twelve Tropical Sea Treasures – as evidence for the need for more marine sanctuaries in areas such as Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef in WA and areas off the Northern Territory and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The reports have been produced by Save Our Tropical Sealife, an alliance of local, national and international conservation groups. View the reports at:

“This vast and diverse region, from Shark Bay through to the Gulf of Carpentaria, is a haven to tropical sealife, threatened with extinction in other parts of the world “, said Jess Abrahams from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“This report clearly shows that marine sanctuaries are critical for protecting vulnerable marine life and their underwater habitat.”

The sites identified by the AMCS in the northwest include:
Shark Bay; Wallaby Saddle; Ningaloo Reef and canyons, Dampier Archipelago, Wild offshore atolls e.g. Rowley Shoals; Kimberley; Browse Islands.

In the north identified sites include:
Fog Bay; The Arafura Canyons; Coburg Pinnacles; Central Gulf/Cape York; Limmen Bight; Arnhem Shelf Islands.

In response, the Amateur Fisherman’s Association of the Northern Territory (AFANT) has issued a press release today to oppose the AMCS’s push for further marine parks in the north.

“In a media release today AMCS has called for no-go no-take zones to be established in some of our most significant recreational fishing areas,” said AFANT President Warren de With.

“These groups are now putting pressure on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to step away from the recently released North Bioregional Plan which identified only one area off the NT to the north of Nhulunbuy which required protection at this level.”

“No doubt they will be stepping up pressure on the NT Government as well to try and push their anti-fishing agenda into coastal, estuary and river areas under its jurisdiction.”

“These groups have only one agenda and that’s no-go no-take zones covering as much water as possible and they refuse to consider the social and economic benefits of recreational fishing or the fact that recreational fishing in the NT is well managed, sustainable and does not pose a threat to the sea life they say needs protection.”

“If you want our great recreational fishing to continue you need to stand with AFANT and help us let politicians and other decision makers know that AMCS’s no-go no-take zones aren’t needed here.”

AFANT urges those opposed to further sanctuary zones in the north to email with their views and they will be passed on to government.

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