Marine parks four times larger than national parks

26th February 2013

A few facts about marine parks:

• Before proclamation of the most recent Marine Reserves on 16 November 2012, the total area of Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) was almost 839,000 km2 (including the Great Barrier Reef network established between 1983 and 2004 and the 2006 South East Marine Reserve Network). After proclamation, the total area of the 60 Commonwealth marine reserves is 3.1 million km2 This affects at least 57 Commonwealth and State fisheries.

• State and Territory marine reserves add another 130,000 km2, giving a total of 3.2 million km2 of MPAs in Australian waters. This is equivalent to 42% of Australia’s land area. The situation in Australia’s marine environment contrasts that that on land where only 4% of the Australia’s land mass being managed as a national park, a further 6% of Australia’s land mass is state forest, nature park and conservation reserve bringing the total land area in Australia under some form of “protection” to about 10%. In other words marine parks are about four times larger than terrestrial national parks.

• In spite of the long term existing protection on land, Australia already has 27 species of mammals, 23 birds, four frogs and a freshwater fish that are extinct. There have been no extinctions of marine fish even though there was no network of marine protected areas until very recently.

• Australian marine parks are equivalent to 38% of Australia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Australia has the third-largest exclusive economic zone in the world, behind only the United States and France.

• Australia now accounts for a massive 43% of all MPAs on the planet but only contributes 0.3% of the World’s wild caught fish.