Opposition to Coral Sea marine reserve heats up
The Australian Marine Alliance (AMA) is turning up the heat on proponents of a marine reserve in the Coral Sea, which, if designated, would be the world’s largest at 989,842 square kilometers (about 380,000 square miles).
On Friday, AMA CEO Dean Logan called out Australia’s Labor Party, accusing it carrying out “sneaky back room deals” and pushing through with the marine reserve regardless of the economic and social ramifications. Logan urged Queensland Premier Campbell Newman to intervene and put a stop to the Labor Party’s “fanatical” agenda.
“Put frankly, Queenslanders deserve better. The Coral Sea closure will decimate already struggling industries and communities,” said Logan. “The entire process from the start has been riddled with confidential maps and sneaky back room deals by Federal Labor. Internal sources within Minister [Tony] Burke’s own inner sanctum confirm the immanent closure of the Coral Sea and serious internal government concerns that this will have irreversible economic and social ramifications for Queenslanders and the country in terms of food security.”
Logan pointed out that Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Chinese and U.S. fishing fleets are projected to catch 1 million metric tons of tuna in the region this year alone and yet Australia’s government is intent on closing the area to Australian fishermen.
The Coral Sea is located off Australia’s northeast coast and stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to Papua New Guinea in the north and the Solomon Islands in the east. The reserve’s nearest point is more than 60 kilometers from the coast and it extends out to 1,100 kilometers from the mainland.
The Queensland Seafood Industry Association is also strongly opposed to the marine reserve.