Australia to Double Their Coastal Marine Reserves

Target: Tony Burke, Australian Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities

Goal: Express gratitude over Australia’s plans to expand upon marine reserves, but to also ensure environmental critics are heard.

The Australian government has rolled out plans that would more than double their number of marine reserves. The total number of parks would jump from the current 27 to 60 if the new plan gets passed. This expansion would then cover approximately 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers), or over one-third of the continent’s waters. “It’s time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans,” explained Tony Burke, Australia’s Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. “This new network of marine reserves will help ensure that Australia’s diverse marine environment, and the life it supports, remain healthy, productive and resilient for future generations.”

But not everybody is as excited about these recent conservation efforts. Environmental activists believe that the amount of proposed marine sanctuaries is not enough and that the selected areas purposely avoid areas that would impede on oil and gas companies. “The boundaries the minister has determined have been very strongly determined on oil and gas prospectivity [sic], and clearly determined by lobbying from the oil and gas sector,” said Rachel Siewert of the Australian’s Greens Party—a minority party dedicated to green politics.

Meanwhile the fishing industry is crying foul on their end, claiming that this is too much—that these reserves will severely affect and restrict businesses in the area. According to Dean Logan of the Australian Marine Alliance, a group that acts on behalf of commercial and recreational fisheries, the expansion of protected areas is “devastating and those that will suffer most will be coastal communities.” With the push and pull over the matter, it is clear that the proposed plan could use some work.

For now, the proposal is in its initial stages and will undergo a 60-day consultation process with the new marine parks scheduled to be opened by the end of the year. It is in this time that the most important decisions must be made.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Burke,

A disappearing global environment is no longer merely a threat, but rather a reality. Every day more and more of our physical world is changing under the pressure of human interference, and in these times decisions need be made that will positively affect the planet.

The Australian government’s recent plan to expand the country’s marine park reserves is one such idea that has the potential to lead to greater change (and good) on the global scale.

However, with groups on both sides of the issue arguing over specifics it is apparent that kinks need to be worked in order to accommodate for the needs of all involved (as well as the ocean ecosystem!). With that in mind, I thank you for your efforts in working towards greater marine protection and I urge you to finalize a plan that all of Australia—and the world—can be proud of.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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