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World's first temperate network of marine reserves declared.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

T102/07 05 July 2007

WORLD’S FIRST TEMPERATE NETWORK OF MARINE RESERVES DECLARED

The Australian Government today announced the legal protection of the world’s first temperate deep sea network of marine reserves, off the south-east coastline of Australia.

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull said the declaration represented a global landmark in marine environment protection.

“Taking in an area over three times the size of Tasmania, the network includes 13 new marine reserves in waters off southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and eastern South Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The reserves contain representative examples of the unique marine life and the undersea features of the region. They include undersea mountains higher than Mt Kosciusko, canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and unique marine species that inhabit these ecosystems, found nowhere else on the planet.

“Totaling 226,000 square kilometres, this is the first such network of marine reserves at this scale in the world,” Mr Turnbull said.

The reserves will come into effect on 3 September 2007 and comprise five different zones:

• sanctuary zones, where extractive uses are prohibited; • benthic (sea floor) sanctuary zones, where extractive uses are prohibited in the area from 500 metres below sea level to the sea floor; • multiple use zones, where only low-impact fishing methods and other activities are permitted; • special purpose zones, where all commercial fishing is prohibited, but oil and gas activities and

recreational fishing are permitted • recreational use zones, where recreational and charter fishing are allowed, while other extractive activities are prohibited.

Mr Turnbull said some fishing methods, such as bottom trawling, were banned throughout the network.

The declaration was a five year process involving:

• development of a comprehensive inventory of the best available science and information to support development of the reserve network; • the development of science-based guidelines to help identify the undersea features and ecosystems that should be included in the reserves; and • determination of the boundaries and zoning, involving lengthy consultations with marine

industries and the conservation sector.

Mr Turnbull said the declaration demonstrated that internationally significant conservation gains can be achieved in Australia with the support of marine industries for the benefit of future generations.

Further details on the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network are available online at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mpa/south-east.html .

Media Contact: Brad Burke 02 6277 7640 or 0400 337 252

Background information:

The South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network is the first of five such networks to be developed throughout Australia’s ocean jurisdiction over the next five years under the Australian Government’s programme of Marine Bioregional Planning.

The development of the South-east Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network began about four years ago and was accelerated in December 2005, when the Australian Government released a candidate network of reserves for consultation.

Since then, extensive consultations were held with a range of marine industries, the conservation sector, scientists, Indigenous groups and State Governments.

The Australian Government has consulted widely in developing this network. The ocean is separated into tropical, temperate, sub-antarctic and antaractic waters.

The United States last year declared the world’s other large marine reserve, located in the tropical waters surrounding Hawaii.

Over the next 12 months a management plan will be developed for the South-east Reserves.

Stakeholders will again be actively engaged in this process.

In the meantime, interim management arrangements for the reserves will be put in place to allow ongoing use of the reserves where activities are consistent with the zones.

People carrying out commercial activities or fishing in the Reserves will need to apply for an approval.

Information on how to apply is available on the website.

Fishermen requiring assistance to adjust to the creation of the reserve network will have access to assistance under the $220 million Securing Our Fishing Future package, including a fishing concession buyout, managed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Further information about the Securing Our Fishing Future package can be obtained from the Australin Fisheries Management Authority website at: http://www.afma.gov.au/securing/direction.htm#management