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Oceans policy.

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Greens (WA) - Election 98


Oceans policy




Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ratified by Australia in 1994, the Commonwealth has sovereignty over territorial seas out to 12 nautical miles and the responsibility to sustainably manage an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending from 12-200 nautical miles from the coast. The EEZ jurisdiction is further expanded in some locations by the limits of the continental shelf, giving a total area of maritime control of approximately 2.5 million square kilometres.


Australian oceans encompass tropical, sub-tropical, temperate, sub-polar and polar regions. Our tropical, sub-tropical and temperate systems are characterised by high biodiversity but relatively low biological productivity. Australian tropical and sub-tropical marine ecosystems are continuous with those of the tropical Indo-Pacific but the southern temperate ecosystems have evolved in isolation and as a result have numerous endemic forms. Western Australia has the only warm, southward flowing, eastern boundary current on the planet and this has given rise to some unique ecological characteristics.


The management of marine resources over such a large and often inaccessible area is complicated by a number of factors. These include: -



• The fluid inter-connectedness of oceanic processes and plant and animal (including fishery) populations;


• Overlapping international (Law of the Sea), national, state and customary (native title) jurisdictions often serving incompati ble interests;


• Uncoordinated or competing planning and management activities within government with the better-resourced departments exercising control; and


• A weak research, information and monitoring base.



Ocean currents have the capacity to tr ansport organisms and pollutants over vast distances. Marine environments are more strongly connected than terrestrial ones and are affected by changes that occur on a much wider scale. The oceans are also connected to land-catchments via rivers, estuaries, tidal exchange and groundwater inflow. The welfare of the oceans is therefore dependent on land management practices.


Principles of ecologically sustainable development


Oceans should be managed using the precautionary principle (that is, if you don’t know what the impacts will be, don’t do it). This contrasts with the current fish-it-and-see approach to the management of some fisheries.


Where a high risk exists, biodiversity and renewable resources should have priority over the exploitation of non-renewable ones (for example, oil and minerals).


Pelagic* and demersal** fisheries should be managed as multi-species fisheries. In multi-species fisheries "stocks" must be managed to provide for the needs of natural predators as well as human fishers and resource replenishment. Multi-species fisheries must also take measures to protect marine biodiversity by reducing by-catch and habitat damage as well as conserving target species populations.


Maintaining adequate, biologically representative no-take reserve areas within each fishery and/or marine bioregion should conserve marine biodiversity inshore and reef fish stocks.


Marine conservation reserves need to be strategically located to be representative of the range of marine environments and to provide a supply of propagules or larval recruits to downstream conservation areas.


*Pelagic as in fish with no fixed location


**Demersal as in fish who live on the ocean bed




The Greens (WA) propose that: -



1.The Federal Government provide adequate resourc es to assist the States in rapidly establishing a biologically representative and interconnected system of marine conservation areas. These should include substantial no-take reserves.


2.Extensive research be conducted on the natural spatial and temporal scales in our marine ecosystems to assist in establishing a viable system of interconnected marine protected areas.


3.No exploration or mining be allowed within marine reserves.


4.There be no translocation of non-endemic species into areas of high conservation value.


5.The North West Cape, including Ningaloo Reef, be nominated as a World Heritage Area.


6.All new fisheries and aquaculture proposals be subject to full environmental impact assessment.


7."Multi-species" management objectives be legislated for all pela gic and demersal fisheries. Measures taken by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the various State Fisheries Departments should be monitored and audited by Environment Australia.


8.Ecologically unsustainable fisheries (for example, Southern Bluefin Tuna and School Sharks) be closed by the AFMA.


9.A complete moratorium be declared on commercial foreign vessels taking Southern Bluefin Tuna and shark in the Australian EEZ.


10.A moratorium be declared on the taking of Southern Bluefin Tuna by Australian fishers until the stocks have recovered to the satisfaction of the Southern Bluefin Tuna Scientific Advisory Group.


11.A ban be imposed on all fishing methods which result in the taking of Wandering Albatross and other seabird species.


12.The Federal Government, through AQIS, resource the development of onshore ballast water treatment facilities at all Australian ports taking international shipping.


13.The Federal Government fund the establishment of solid and oily waste retrieval facilities at all major ports.


14.The Federal Government implement the recommendations of the Ships of Shame Report.


15.The Federal Government establish government-funded catchment management programs in all coastal urban and agricultural regions.






It's Vital - Re-elect Senator Dee Margetts



Authorised by Margo Beilby, Valleyview Rd Roleystone