Marine parks

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Marine parks are valuable tools to help safeguard species such as seagrasses. AAP Image/James Cook University

Why are Australia’s marine parks being reviewed so soon after they were signed off?

Australia's network of marine parks - a decade in the making and announced in 2012 - haven't been implemented yet, and the Abbott government has already placed the plans under review. Why the hurry?
Despite the high concentration of sharks in Cocos, some species have declined in number – a signal on the effectiveness of marine preserves. Genna Marie Robustelli

Shark-counting divers off Costa Rica reveal limits of marine reserves

Divers at the famed Cocos site off Costa Rica record declines in a number of shark species – a sign that marine preserves are limited protection against illegal fishing.
After mass bleaching in 1998, more than half of coral reefs in the Seychelles have slowly recovered. Nick Graham

Obituaries for coral reefs may be premature, study finds

Coral reefs are the poster child for the damage people are doing to the world’s oceans. Overfishing, pollution and declining water quality have all taken their toll on reefs around the world. Perhaps the…
One of the hottest topics for the upcoming election is a new forest national park to protect the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem. Greens MPs/Flickr

Victorians short-changed on environmental policy

Less than a week out from Victoria’s state election, both major parties have been largely silent on environmental policy. Neither the Coalition nor Labor has released comprehensive documents. It also seems…
NSW is considering a marine park for Sydney Harbour. But have we learnt from our past mistakes? Peter Hindmarsh

Marine parks for fish and people: here’s how to do it

As thousands gather for the World Parks Congress in Sydney, there are growing calls for a new marine park in Sydney Harbour. New South Wales’s Labor opposition has promised, if elected, to establish the…
Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest – but we need to make sure parks are actually protecting wildlife from threats. Rita Willaert/Flickr

We have more parks than ever, so why is wildlife still vanishing?

While we can never know for sure, an extraordinary number of animals and plants are threatened with extinction — up to a third of all mammals and over a tenth of all birds. And the problem is getting worse…
Coral reef ecosystem off Palmyra Atoll part of newly expanded Marine National Monument. Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pacific Remote Islands protection not just a drop in the ocean

This fall, President Obama signed a proclamation that created the biggest marine reserve in the world. By extending the protective boundaries around Wake Island, Jarvis Island and Johnston Atoll from 50…
Australia’s Commonwealth marine parks were designed to protect marine life, including important foraging areas for sea birds.

Marine park review looks set to repeat past mistakes

In June 2012 the Labor government announced the “world’s largest” system of marine parks, adding 2.3 million square kilometres and taking the overall size of Australia’s Commonwealth marine reserves to…
Shark Bay is one of Australia’s 19 World Heritage Areas, home to dolphins, dugongs, and sharks. Matthew Fraser

Climate change threatens Western Australia’s iconic Shark Bay

In the summer of 2010-2011 Western Australia experienced an unprecedented heatwave — but not on land. Between December 2010 and April 2011, sea temperatures off the WA coast reached 3C above average, and…
Floodwater plumes, like this one in Moreton Bay, do less damage to reefs that are in marine reserves. Healthy Waterways/supplied

Marine reserves saved coral reefs from Queensland floods

Marine reserves are a hot topic in Australia, with federal and state governments debating whether to allow recreational fishers to take fish from within their boundaries. But new research demonstrates…
Already operating as a coal port, the disposal of dredge material from expanding Abbot Point is now the subject of a legal challenge. GBRMPA

Let’s dump Great Barrier Reef dredging myths: authority chief

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s recent decision to allow 3 million cubic metres of dredge material to be disposed of 25 kilometres off Abbot Point in north Queensland has attracted passionate…
While we don’t know much about oceans off north west Australia, we know they’re important. Australian Institute of Marine Science

Marine reserves: finding the balance with oil and gas

How do we get the most out of our marine reserves? The government is in the process of reviewing Australia’s network of marine protected areas. The review focuses on zones that exclude recreational fishers…
Step away from the fish, with your beak in the air. Reemul

Marine conservation efforts are failing to take five key steps

Some of the world’s most vulnerable marine habitats are being failed by the conservation orders put in place to protect them. As the Environmental Audit Committee meets to discuss how it will implement…
Going fishing? 96% of Australia’s coastline is still open to recreational fishers. Flickr/deswalsh

Paper parks or a world-class system of ocean protection?

The federal government’s recent announcement “reproclaiming” the new Commonwealth Marine Reserves overturns previous plans to protect Australia’s marine biodiversity, and review the management of Australia’s…
Maria Island’s protected waters have given us insight into how species respond to warmer temperatures. Paul Benjamin

Marine reserves help fish resist climate change invaders

Southeast Australia is an ocean warming “hotspot” – a region where temperature at the ocean’s surface is increasing more rapidly than elsewhere. That means this part of Australia is like an outdoor laboratory…
By consulting more with fishers, governments can build support for conservation science. Flickr/Ben Christian Photos

Marine parks won’t work unless fishers are on side

Last year the current government unveiled plans for the world’s largest network of marine parks around Australia’s coast. Now the Coalition has pledged to put a pause on the plan should it form government…

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