Essay Topic: Are the economic, social and environmental implications of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014 – 2024 on local communities and the fishing industry justifiable?
Next year, on July 1, the world's largest marine reserve will come into effect. The Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve Management Plan 2014 -2024 is the culmination of more than a decade of campaigning by conservationists, consultation by the Federal Government and vehement opposition by industries and regional communities affected by the decision. On one hand, conservationists believe the nearly one million km² of ocean inside the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone will protect forever the ...view middle of the document...
It's described by conservationists and fishers as a unique and pristine marine environment one arguing these values justify "locking up" the Coral Sea while others believe it is a marine domain that has demonstrably sustained a fishing industry for 30 years and should be left alone.
Coral Sea campaigner with the Australian Marine Conservation Society states: “The AMCS only selects the healthiest environments to become marine parks and the Coral Sea has no indication of being effected by fishing and (PEW et al 2012) - It is considered one of the most distinctive and undisturbed natural systems in the world and provides refuge for a wide range of threatened, migratory and commercially valuable species under serious threat."
The fishing industry has operated sustainability in the Coral Sea by working in consultation with the Australian Fisheries Management Authorities and the governing legislation (Fisheries Management Act) is based on methodological information and monitoring.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke says the Australian Government has undertaken exhaustive consultation before gazetting a network of marine parks around Australia, including the Coral Sea, with more than 100,000 people making submissions. He has repeatedly stated the no-take zones will affect "less than one per cent of the value of
production of wild catch fishing around Australia" and promised compensation for displaced fishers across Australia.
But many believe the government's consultation process delivered the outcome it was intended to achieve with socio-economic impacts, particularly on the commercial fishing fleet, given minimal consideration. The Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA) is the peak industry body representing the interests of fishers in Commonwealth-managed fisheries, who generate a significant part of Australia's $2.2 billion in economic activity in the seafood industry. Its chairman Martin Excel says the $100 million compensation package is "a drop in the ocean" of the amount needed to fairly compensate fishers.
The Coalition also says the amount is "woefully inadequate" and has committed to reviewing the marine park boundaries by the peak lobby group, Commonwealth Fisheries Association, if elected (The Australian, November 17, 2012). The Greens Senator, Larissa Waters, supports "fair and adequate" compensation for all areas of the fishing industry affected by the closure, but others have drawn unfavourable comparisons with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) where a much smaller area of 365,450KM² was closed compared with the 2.3 million square kilometres being added to the existing Commonwealth marine reserves. The GBRMP compensation package which was initially estimated at being $10 million, and ultimately cost the Australian Government (and taxpayers) $240 million.
Individuals, businesses and communities reliant on the fishing industry will not be compensated at all. An industry-commissioned study clearly...