The Federal Government’s announcement to give $100 million of funding to improve the health of our oceans comes as the largest dedicated amount of money received in some time, to help plug the significant funding gap in the protection of Australian oceans.
The funding package includes more than $30 million for projects that aim to restore and protect coastal ecosystems including mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses – habitat important to many iconic Australian species.
With $40 million towards Australia’s marine parks, it will improve management, and pay for restoration and research projects. This includes $5.4 million to improve the health and sustainability of marine life around Australia’s Indian Ocean territories.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) CEO Darren Kindleysides 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,” Mr Kindleysides said.
“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.”
Targeted funding for marine species through the provision of $5 million 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.
The funding announcement has also recognised the traditional owners and custodians of Australia’s land and oceans by incorporating Sea Country in Indigenous protected areas in nine places around Australia.
Mr Kindleysides said investing in our marine habitats and sea life brings benefits to all, from our health and wellbeing to 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.”
For more environment: