The fate of more than 300 threatened species in Australia’s Coral Sea will be determined this week as global environmental leaders meet in Japan for the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10).
Australian conservationists hope that the conference will bring marine park conservation status to the Coral Sea area, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, which would prevent over-fishing and some aquatic activities.
Nicola Temple, Coral Sea spokesperson for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said in a press release that the area was home to 219 Red Listed coral species. “With 40 per cent of the world’s coral reefs lost or degraded, a high level of protection for areas like the Coral Sea is critical.”
The aquatic zone is also home to whales, sea turtles, sharks, rays and fish. Low levels of human intrusion have helped preserve the area to date, assisted in part by its relative isolation.
“A very large, fully protected, world-class marine park in Australia’s Coral Sea would provide refuge to a vast number of threatened species. It is the best management tool for protecting species and their habitats, but also for protecting plants and animals which are yet to be discovered.”
Part of the Coral Sea that falls under Australian jurisdiction was declared a Conservation Zone in May 2009, however the protection is only temporary, and covers less than one per cent of the area conservationists believe should be protected.
For more information, visit protectourcoralsea.org.au