Planned extensions and increased protections for Australia’s marine reserves has been upheld by a new review, with some recommended changes.
Originally, a network of 42 marine reserves was announced by Labor in 2012 after lengthy consultation and more than 8,000 submissions.
The reserves were suspended after the Abbott government was elected in 2013 – with then PM Tony Abbott saying he didn’t want to “lock up our oceans,” and establishing a scientific panel to review the planned marine park boundaries.
The panel’s review has now recommended zoning changes for 26 of 40 reserves, while reducing the area available for mining and the impact on commercial fisheries.
Some conservationists have criticised the proposed changes under the review. The World Wildlife Fund’s Richard Leck says Australia would be “out of step with the rest of the world” in reducing the size of our no-take zones.
Opposition environment and water spokesperson, Tony Burke, says the review was unnecessary.