The Australian Marine Conservation Society is pleased by the Federal Government’s $100m funding announcement to improve the health of our oceans.
Darren Kindleysides, AMCS CEO said,”Our oceans are critical to life on earth, but are in deep trouble. The loss of habitat, pollution, overfishing, development, invasive species and the very real and immediate impacts of climate change are devastating marine habitats and species around the globe and right here in Australia.
“Protecting our oceans must be a top priority for all Australian governments. This funding commitment is a vital and promising package of measures to address some key threats, such as the loss and degradation of coastal habitat and capture of wildlife in commercial fishing nets,” Mr Kindleysides said.
This important investment is the largest dedicated ocean funding in some time and will help plug a significant funding gap in the protection of Australia’s oceans.
The funding package includes over $30m for projects that aim to restore and protect coastal ecosystems including mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses – habitat important to many iconic Australian species.
There is almost $40m for Australia’s marine parks which will improve management, and pay for restoration and research projects. This includes $5.4m to improve the health and sustainability of marine life around Australia’s Indian Ocean territories. A national network of well managed and well resourced marine parks is essential to protecting marine life and building the resilience of our oceans to the impacts of warming waters caused by climate change.
Traditional Owners have been custodians of Australia’s oceans for thousands of years, and are essential to ensuring the long-term, sustainable management of our oceans. This is also recognised in this funding announcement, which will help to incorporate Sea Country in Indigenous Protected Areas in nine places around Australia.
Targeted funding for marine species through the provision of $5m to fund measures to avoid bycatch of threatened species is a vital step towards the protection of Australia’s marine biodiversity. The capture of marine wildlife during commercial fishing activities is a major extinction threat to many iconic and endangered marine species around the country, such as turtles, seabird, dolphins and seals.
“Investing in our marine habitats and sea life brings benefits to all – our health, our wellbeing and our economy. We look forward to working with the government on the detail of this budget announcement and ensuring progress towards the protection of Australia’s magnificent oceans,” said Mr Kindleysides.