Marine scientists call for protection of Coral SeaSeptember 12th, 2008 - 11:14 am ICT by IANS
Sydney, Sep 12 (IANS) Tropical marine scientists, strongly backed by environmental groups, have called for the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia, to be made into world’s largest marine reserve. The researchers said that the whole Coral Sea should become a no-fishing area to protect its immense environmental and heritage values from the escalating threats of overfishing and climate change.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the world’s marine ecosystems have been seriously degraded by overfishing, pollution and global warming. These trends call for urgent, practical solutions,” said Terry Hughes, director of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
“Eleven percent of land habitats have been designated as parks to conserve their biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide to people. In contrast, less than a tenth of one percent of the world’s oceans are fully protected,” he said.
The Coral Sea provides critical habitats for many species, including critically endangered Hawksbill and endangered Green turtles, 25 species of whales and dolphins, and 27 species of sea bird, said Hugh Possingham, director of the Ecology Centre at the University of Queensland.
“At least 13 species of seabird breed on Coral Sea islands, including regionally important populations of the Red-footed Booby, Lesser frigate bird and Greater frigate bird.
The Coral Sea is one of the few places remaining on earth where large pelagic fishes (tuna, billfish and sharks) have not yet been severely depleted,” he said.
There is also an unsustainable bycatch of turtles, sharks and birds in pelagic fisheries. The rapid decline of large sharks due to illegal finning is also a major concern worldwide.
“Fishing activities in the Coral Sea contribute to significant declines of sharks, turtles and seabirds on the adjoining Great Barrier Reef. A single large no-take zone is the best approach for protecting these pelagic and migratory species because they cannot be protected inside small reserves,” said John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland.
- World-class protection boosts Australia's Great Barrier Reef - Feb 23, 2010
- Protect coral reefs, say scientists - Jul 09, 2012
- Real-life marine haven for Nemo and friends - Dec 05, 2010
- Warming climate damaging reefs, impacting fish - Jul 11, 2012
- Shark sanctuary declared in eastern Indonesia - Nov 17, 2010
- Coral reefs will survive ravages of warming: Scientists - Apr 17, 2012
- Climate change forces mirgration of Australian tropical fish - Aug 17, 2012
- 75 percent of world's coral reefs under threat: report - Feb 24, 2011
- Gujarat coral reefs a virtual gold mine - Mar 27, 2011
- Study finds how sea urchins affect coral reefs' growth - Jan 15, 2011
- Vietnamese fishermen held in Philippines - Apr 26, 2012
- 10 coral species may vanish within 50 years - Jan 12, 2011
- Over 100 countries agree to protect endangered shark species - Feb 17, 2010
- Marine life faces large-scale extinction risk - Aug 22, 2012
- Warming casts shadow over survival of coral reefs - Sep 17, 2012
Tags: bycatch, concern worldwide, coral reef, coral sea islands, critical habitats, ecology centre, ecosystem services, frigate bird, great barrier reef, green turtles, heritage values, james cook university, marine scientists, pelagic fisheries, rapid decline, reef studies, species of whales, terry hughes, university of queensland, whales and dolphins