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Protecting Our Coral Sea

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Progress continues towards officially locking in Australia’s Coral Sea as the second largest, fully protected marine reserve in the world – and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Australian government is currently finalizing its management plan for these waters. To coincide with this effort, the Protect our Coral Sea coalition, of which Pew is a member, launched a print ad campaign featuring Queenslanders, representing a range of backgrounds and ages, thanking Australia’s Environment Minister Tony Burke for establishing the Coral Sea Marine Reserve. This wave of ads include a recreational fisher, a chef and restaurant owner, a diver and spear fisherman and a tourism business operator, to name just a few.

The Coral Sea is home to one of the world’s last remaining intact tropical ocean ecosystems and spectacular marine life such as sharks, whales, tuna, and billfish. Scattered throughout these waters are healthy coral reefs and atolls as well as cays and islands that provide shelter to reef fish, turtles, and seabirds. 

To learn more about the supporters featured in the ads, click on the images below:

Jenni BaileyMike BallDavid HannanErin Murdoch and Amanda BurnsTom SjolundAndrew Kelly and Mark Williams
Michael CallananClint CarrollJim CashNadiah RoslanCheryl Janet SmithYeppoon SchoolmatesStuart AllwrightGeorgia SneesbyMichael Danaher
Peta BeattieJurgen and Stella FreundAndrew SchofieldRichard WebbConrad Norton-TaylorTerry SpackmanColleen FaganCarmen Riordan and Simon JonesJohn Schmidt

 Jenni Bailey, Mackay

Jenni Bailey

As a marine biologist and conservation volunteer, I’ve seen firsthand how overfishing and other human pressures are endangering the ocean ecosystems we depend on. The Coral Sea Marine Reserve is a great opportunity to reverse this trend and preserve one of the most spectacular and biologically diverse regions of the South Pacific.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for helping to give our oceans a fighting chance.   

Mike Ball, Cairns, Dive Expeditions Operator

Mike Ball

Our dive business depends on a healthy ocean, and we work hard to be good stewards of the marine environment. That’s why I’m greatly encouraged by the decision to protect major parts of the Coral Sea as a national marine park. This move will give many threatened species a chance to survive—and keep divers coming back to us for decades to come.

Thank you, Minister Burke.

David Hannan, Cinematographer, North Stradbroke Island 

David Hannan

In my wide-ranging documentary work on coral reefs and the species that depend on them, I’ve come to appreciate what a treasure we have in the Coral Sea, which is still relatively healthy compared with other reef areas in the South Pacific. By protecting marine life here, we’ll help the rest of the region’s reefs survive and improve the chances for sustainable fisheries.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for this far-sighted decision.

Erin Murdoch and Amanda Burns, Remote Area Dive Employees, Townsville

Erin Murdoch and Amanda Burns

Taking customers on dive excursions along the Great Barrier Reef, we see how important a marine park can be in protecting fragile underwater habitat and marine life from overfishing and other human excesses. So we’re very excited that large parts of the Coral Sea now will be protected, too.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for taking this critical step.

Tom Sjolund, Yeppoon, Photographer and Closed-Circuit Television Expert

Tom Sjolund

Recording the behavior of seabirds and other ocean life, I’m reminded again and again how fortunate we Central Queenslanders are to be surrounded by so many natural treasures, especially in the waters off our coast. We have a responsibility to protect these places for future generations, and the new Coral Sea marine park is a big step in that direction.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for your foresight.

Andrew Kelly and Mark Williams, Sunshine Coast Freedivers

Andrew Kelly and Mark Williams

Diving isn’t just a sport. We go underwater to experience the ocean’s amazing array of life. And on nearly every outing, we see how these species and the reefs they depend on are being threatened by human exploitation and carelessness.

The new Coral Sea marine park will hold off the damage for one of the world’s richest and most beautiful ecosystems.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for your leadership.

Michael Callanan, Secondary teacher, Brisbane

Michael Callanan

I’ve been focused on the ocean since my surfing days, and I’ve grown increasingly concerned about its degradation from overfishing and industrial activity. But the new Coral Sea marine park can help to turn that around, giving threatened species a chance to re-establish themselves both within the reserve and in the waters beyond.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for this gift to future generations.

Clint Carroll, Cairns

Clint Carroll

As a diver and tour agent, I’ve seen firsthand the amazing natural treasures of the Coral Sea. A wonderful array of fish, marine mammals, seabirds, and other ocean life depend on this unspoilt habitat, and we have a duty to protect it for the benefit of future generations.

Our new Coral Sea marine park will help fulfill this obligation.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for making it a reality.

Jim Cash, Retired Teacher, Hunchy

Jim Cash

As a former teacher of marine biology, I’ve observed with alarm how human pressures on the ocean environment have increased and our area’s fisheries have declined. So I heartily welcome the news that a large part of the Coral Sea will become a haven where highly prized fish and other threatened species can rebound.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for making it happen.

 Nadiah Roslan, Townsville

Nadiah Roslan

As a marine biology student, I see how our ocean ecosystems are being degraded by overfishing and other human pressures. We need to reverse this, and that means keeping some parts of the ocean free of exploitation so threatened species can regenerate.

That’s why our new Coral Sea marine park is such an important achievement. Thank you, Minister Burke.

 Cheryl Janet Smith, Dive Instructor, Airlie Beach

Cheryl Janet Smith

When I go diving, it saddens me to think that many of the amazing creatures I see might not be here for future generations. Fish, whales, and other ocean species have come under increasing pressure from human exploitation. They need safe places where their numbers can recover.

And that’s exactly what Australia is providing with the new Coral Sea marine park. Thank you, Minister Burke.

 Yeppoon Schoolmates (left to right): Shaunee Girven, Bronwyn Hafey, Gabby McCosker, Erin Wallace, Rose Geange, Miranda Campbell, Annika Smith

Yeppoon Schoolmates

All of us love the ocean, and it worries us when we see the damage done by pollution, overfi shing, and habitat destruction. To make sure the sea’s natural treasures will be here for the future, we need to set aside places now where threatened species can safely feed and multiply.

The new Coral Sea marine park is a big step in that direction. Thank you, Minister Burke, for your leadership.

Stuart Allwright, Dive Boat Captain, Airlie Beach

Stuart Allwright

Taking divers on excursions in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, I see first hand how effective marine reserves can be in protecting fish and other ocean life from over exploitation and habitat destruction.

Our beautiful and ecologically important Coral Sea also deserves a high level of protection, and now it’s going to receive it.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for making this dream a reality.

Georgia Sneesby, Brisbane

Georgia Sneesby

As a diver since the age of 14, I love the amazing array of life off our shores. That’s why I volunteer with a conservation group, plan to earn a degree in marine science, and strongly support the recent decision to protect our Coral Sea.

The new marine park will be an incubator for fish and other creatures that will spread far beyond its borders.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for creating it.

Michael Danaher, Rockhampton

Michael Danaher

Growing up in Yeppoon, I was captivated by the wonders of the ocean. The interplay of fish, seabirds, and other creatures, all dependent on each other, inspired me to become an environmental studies teacher and a strong conservationist.

So naturally I welcome the decision to protect a large part of our Coral Sea from human pressures so dwindling species can survive and multiply.

Thank you, Minister Burke.

Peta Beattie, Drama teacher, Buderim 

Peta Beattie

My love of the sea began at a very young age with wonderful family holidays spent along the Great Barrier Reef, and I still go fishing whenever I can. I was therefore delighted to hear that a large part of the Coral Sea is going to be protected. Fish need safe havens where they can spawn and multiply.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for this gift to future generations.

Marine photographer Jurgen Freund with his wife and partner, Stella

Jurgen and Stella Freund

Over the past 18 years, as I’ve snapped thousands of underwater photos, Stella and I have seen the disturbing effects of overfishing and marine habitat destruction. That’s why we strongly supported the effort to establish a safe haven in the Coral Sea for threatened species and ecosystems.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for our new Coral Sea marine park.

Andrew Schofield, Owner, Go Pro Townsville

Andrew Schofield

I’ve gone diving all over the world, and I can tell you there’s no finer display of the ocean’s natural wonders than here in North Queensland. That’s why I strongly supported the designation of a big part of the Coral Sea as a protected marine park. This move will mean more fish and better diving for generations to come.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for your foresight.

Richard Webb, Brisbane Owner/chef, Swampdog Fish and Chips

Richard Webb

My restaurant is devoted to the idea that we can catch and enjoy great seafood without damaging the ocean for future generations. So naturally I was delighted at the announcement of a new Coral Sea marine park. It will help sustain fish stocks all around the park, and that means happy Swampdog customers for decades to come.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for this enlightened decision.

Conrad Norton-Taylor, Moffat Beach

Conrad Norton-Taylor

My wife Annie and I moved up here from Sydney a couple of years ago because of the great spear fishing, scuba diving, and surfing. So I’m very happy to see that our country is going to protect a big part of the Coral Sea. This will help keep fish stocks healthy, not just within the marine park but all around it as well.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for this far-sighted decision.

Terry Spackman, Cairns

Terry Spackman

I love to fish, and so does my 12-year-old granddaughter. But with the growing worldwide demand for seafood, the big fish won’t be here for her grandchildren to catch unless we protect some parts of the ocean where these coveted species can mature and multiply.

That’s why we need the new Coral Sea marine park.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for what you’ve done for my granddaughter and for future generations of recreational fishers.

Colleen Fagan, Yeppoon, Coast Guard volunteer 

Colleen Fagan

I can remember when Keppel Bay was alive with fish, but the trawlers off our shores have driven those populations way down. That’s why I’m very excited about the decision to establish the Coral Sea marine park. The new protections out there will allow fish stocks to rebuild, both within the park and in the areas that surround it.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for acting to improve our recreational fishing.

Carmen Riordan and Simon Jones, Airlie Beach, Cruising sailors based in Whitsundays 

Carmen Riordan and Simon Jones

As sailors, we have great respect for the ocean and we’re in awe of the beauty and diversity of life beneath the surface. But we also see increasing human pressures on fish populations and on the coral reefs and other habitat these species depend on.

That’s why we applaud the decision to create the new Coral Sea marine park.

Thank you, Minister Burke, for helping to ensure a healthy ocean for future generations.

 John Schmidt, Cardwell, Owner, Absolute North Charters

John Schmidt

My tourism business would have no future without a healthy ocean. That’s why I heartily welcome the creation of the new Coral Sea marine park.

The fish we love to catch need a place where they’re totally protected, allowing them to reproduce and then repopulate other areas.

So thank you, Minister Burke, for your foresight.


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