In the late 1990s, Liberal Prime Minister John Howard kick-started the process to create a network of expanded Commonwealth marine reserves.
Over a decade later, Federal Labor announced 40 new reserves. It was the world’s largest network of marine national parks, with the jewel in the crown being protection for most of the Coral Sea in Australia’s tropical north.
But in the lead-up to the 2013 election, the Abbott Government promised a review.
That now long-overdue review has finally been released. As expected, the latest lines on the marine maps show a big cut to the Coral Sea ‘green zone’, or highly protected area.
The changes have alienated not just environmental campaigners, but also commercial fishermen and dive tour operators.
Tuna fisherman; Owner, De Brett Seafood, Mooloolaba
Marine Encounters Scuba Diving, Cairns
Director, Oceans and Western Australia, Pew Charitable Trusts
On ABC RN Breakfast: