Call for marine parks along Victoria's coast
The Environment Conservation Council has proposed the establishment of 13 marine national parks and 11 marine sanctuaries in Victoria. An e-mail campaign is underway in support of marine national parks but more effort is required to convince the Victorian Government to establish the parks. If the marine parks and sanctuaries are established, 6.2 per cent of Victoria's coastal waters will become fully protected. This would be the first system of marine national parks established anywhere in the world. The declining state of the world's oceans and the collapse of many fisheries are behind the need to urgently examine the faults of previous practices and what can be done to keep the oceans healthy, preserve marine biodiversity and the populations of endangered species. Marine protected areas and Marine Sanctuaries would enhance conservation, but only if extractive activities are carefully monitored. Marine reserves (MRVs) are areas of the sea completely protected from all extractive activities. Fishing and the removal of any living or non-living marine resource is prohibited except for monitoring or research to evaluate reserve effectiveness when necessary. At present, fully protected marine reserves encompass only 1/100 of 1 per cent of the seas. Marine reserves are also sometimes called "ecological reserves", "fully- protected marine reserves", or "no-take areas". Good results The first formal marine reserves were established more than two decades ago. Recent analysis of the changes within those reserves allowed scientists to come to the following conclusions: * Strong opposition to the setting up of MRVs from fishers has turned into wholehearted support as reserves conserve both fisheries and biodiversity. * The size and abundance of exploited species increases in areas adjacent to marine reserves as fish larvae spills over beyond the boundaries. * Marine parks work and they work fast. After only two years of protection the following results were obtained: * population densities were on average 91 per cent higher; * biomass was 192 per cent higher: * average organism size was 31 per cent higher; * species diversity was 23 per cent higher. Marine reserves differ from parks on land because most marine species disperse through the water as larvae or spores are moved by tides and currents. Dispersal distances of 20 to 50 kms are not uncommon and 500 to 1000kms is possible in some cases due to currents. This is one of the reasons that scientists want a network of reserves established taking into account the position of marine parks in relation to currents. Message to the Premier Premier Bracks of Victoria has promised to establish marine parks during his election campaign. It's time to honour this election commitment. You can help the campaign of the Environment Conservation Council by sending an email message to the Premier, Deputy Premier and Treasurer asking them to proceed with the establishment of marine parks. Send messages to: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Our aim is to have thousands of messages to the State Government within says says the Environment Conservation Council.