Sea Shepherd offers to help protect Coral Sea marine reserve

Sea Shepherd

By Adrian Bishop - Earth Times

One of the most proactive marine conservation body is offering to help patrol and protect Australia's new Coral Sea marine reserve.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) says it can contribute expert know-how, ships and resources to help preserve the world's largest marine reserve.

The Australian Government announced just last week that it is establishing the reserve to combat the dangers faced by the precious marine ecosystems.

Conservation groups believe that enforcement is vital to prevent poaching, overfishing and other illegal acts that will damage the new Coral Sea marine sanctuary.

The Coral Sea Region covers an area of more than half the size of Queensland and includes green turtle nesting sites, as well as various species of shark and big predatory fish.

Former MP Peter Lindsay said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should take charge of monitoring, but would need help. "There's no point in having a marine park unless you can patrol it and police it.

"They would have to receive adequate funding, they can't do it in their existing budget. Even if it does take another $10 million, it's money well spent."

In response, Sea Shepherd has pledged to help protect the waters from foreign fishing vessels operating illegally at Coral Sea, which means Australian taxpayers would pay nothing.

SSCS says it would also let members of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, or other appropriate Australian authorities, use vessels and go onboard during patrols.

It will work with the various Australian authorities to create strategies that will lead to prosecution of illegal fishing activities.

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