World Oceans Day is a reminder to everyone of the importance of oceans for our environment and of the wide range of roles we can all play to protect marine environments.
The Morrison Government has more than 200 initiatives currently underway to protect our oceans and support coastal communities, as well as $100 million in new investments from this year’s budget through its Oceans Leadership package.
Minister Ley said that the Oceans Leadership Package signals an exciting new phase of its commitment to ocean health, advancing blue carbon initiatives and marine biodiversity.
“Consultation has begun on the establishment of a Marine Protected Area larger than the size of France in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories which could see formal protection across up to 45% of the nation’s oceans,” Minister Ley said.
“Australia already has one of the largest networks of marine parks in the world, protecting over 3.3 million square kilometres of our marine jurisdiction and this expansion will further support the health of our oceans.
“Healthy oceans not only provide a raft of food, recreation and trade services, but also produce 50 per cent of our oxygen, absorb 93 per cent of heat caused by human activity and up to 30 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions.
“We are working with farmers and Traditional owners to protect coastal environments and water run-off hazards, investing in getting plastic out of our oceans and tackling the scourge of ghost nets, and supporting world leading marine science through the $150 million Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program.
“Importantly, we are working with local communities, where initiatives like the $5 million Reef Trust-funded ReefClean project have engaged more than 5,349 volunteers to remove 45.5 tonnes of Marine Debris to date.
“We can all play a role, firstly by recycling our own waste and keep pollution out of our oceans and also by being part of clean up campaigns.
“From working with the fishing industry to reduce by-catch and ensure sustainability, to the reconstruction of native shellfish reefs and the everyday things we can all do to keep waste out of our waterways and oceans, today is a chance for everyone to think about the difference they can make.”
- Australian seas are home to a huge number of unique and magnificent marine life, including 45 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, 4000 species of fish, and 6 of the world’s 7 species of marine turtle.
- Over 3.3 million square kilometres, or 37 per cent, of our nation’s marine areas are protected.
- This includes the World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the only living structure visible from space, one of the world’s natural wonders, and the largest coral reef on Earth.