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Divers Needed to Protect the Coral Sea

Nov. 29/11

Divers from around the world are joining together in a call to protect the Coral Sea. The Coral Sea is one of the last remaining places on earth where large marine animals are still found in great numbers, yet less than one percent of the Coral Sea is currently protected from extractive industries.

The remoteness of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, has so far protected it from overfishing. However as other ocean areas become depleted of marine life the Coral Sea is at greater risk of being overfished. It is important that we help protect the Coral Sea before it is too late.

In November the Australian Government released a draft plan for a new Coral Sea Marine Park. The plan is a good start, but leaves most of the coral reefs as well as important shark habitats unprotected.

Now divers can help improve the draft plan. The Australian Government is asking for comments on how important we think it is to protect the Coral Sea. Please let the Australian Government know that divers think it is very important.

The Coral Sea is home to fifty two species of deepwater sharks and rays, eighteen of them found nowhere else. Whale sharks and even great white sharks inhabit the Coral Sea. Osprey Reef, one of the world’s top ten shark dives, is located inside the Coral Sea.

Blue whales feed in the Coral Sea, humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to have their calves, and four species of sea turtle nest here. Large populations of sharks, tuna, marlin, barracuda and swordfish are still found here as well as a diverse range of corals and reef fish.

The Australian Government’s draft plan leaves much of the Coral Sea open to commercial and recreational fishing. Of the approximate 25 coral reefs, only two will be fully protected. Vital spawning sites for black marlin, bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna are left unprotected, as are underwater volcanoes that are a globally significant habitat for top ocean predators including sharks.

It only takes a few minutes to ask the Australian Government to improve the draft plan. Please have your say and help protect the Coral Sea and provide safe zones for sharks!