Insuring Australia’s marine future | OCCASIONAL PAPER | March 2013

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‘Marine protection insures against loss to environment and economy’ – CPD Marine economy fellow

This report finds that Australia’s national network of marine parks will act as an insurance policy for commercial and recreational fishing

Insuring Australia’s marine future looks at the increasing risks to Australia’s oceans, the growing evidence of the benefits of MPAs, and the low cost of managing them.

Report author, CPD fellow and former World Bank economist Caroline Hoisington contends that, ‘stronger marine ecosystems will be the basis for economic benefits to our communities and businesses’.

Global marine resources are under pressure. Oceans are damaged in much of the world by overfishing, pollution, nutrient loadings and decreased oxygen levels. Climate change adds to the risk of ecological collapse – with potentially catastrophic social and economic impacts.

Australian seas are in better condition than many, but face the same threats. As a leader in declaring a national network of marine protected areas and sanctuary zones, Australia has taken a critical step toward insuring the future of the industries and regional communities that rely on a healthy marine environment. Yet to benefit economically, Australia needs to lead the world in practice as well as on paper.

Download (CPD OP26) Insuring Australia’s marine future_by Caroline Hoisington

Download media release for Insuring Australia’s marine future

Blog Comments

It is all very well to provide legislation to protect. But this is not a set and forget game. I used to live in a place where, if you went up to the end of my road, the World Heritage Listed Rainforest began …. and was uttlerly neglected. Based on my experience two things must accompany legislation. Local residents must be involved and supportive. In my neighbourhood I felt like my family were the only people who knew of the close-by world heritage area even fifteen years after its declaration. The locals are important because if something is going wrong and they are supportive and watching over the area, they will be first reporters. The second thing is that management plans for the entire area must be available immediately or almost immediately after declaration. The world heritage area near me – after chasing tiny sleeper cutters out on 31 December 1988 – became an area of great weed infestation and the wild pigs and cattle more problematic than they had been previously. There was no management plan for a very, very long time. The Army and the Air Force had facilities in this area but I saw no evidence that they shared an environmental interest in this world heritage area to the extent of hastening a management plan or assisting in management of the area. So as someone who lived beside the reef for most of her life, I am supportive of marine parks, I am also sympathetic – based on my experience of living in the shadow of world heritage – with the fishing family in the Gulf who say they have never been consulted and yet they hold extensive knowledge of the Marine Park. I am also unsympathetic to the scientist I saw on the same TV program who seemed to be totally reliant on far-away computer modelling and mapping. This may be a major factor in mapping marine areas. It will not, in one iota, keep marine parks in excellent condition. Only co-operative human interest and involvement at the local level under sound management plans can do this.

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